Most romantics, at one time or another, have melancholy fantasies of a leisurely life in the South Pacific, living off the fruits and treasures the sea provides. A snippet of that fantasy is the discovery of a large, perfectly round colored pearl that makes them wealthy.
Unfortunately, even romantics have to wake up to reality and compromise. Sad, but true! So, if we can’t get to the South Pacific, at least maybe we can get the pearl!
South Sea cultured pearls are some of the rarest and most expensive pearls you can buy. They are also some of the most beautiful. The higher quality pearls have a magnificent, subdued opalescent quality that allows them to slightly change color under different light conditions. They simply never lack interest and are a constant source of compliments.
These are larger pearls than the akoyas and fresh water cultured pearls and have a softer, more satiny luster. They are also difficult to grow, so they are harvested in a variety of inconsistent sizes, shapes and colors that make them very difficult to match when assembling necklaces. For this reason, the majority of the necklaces offered for sale are graduated in size and have multi-colored pearls. To make them more affordable, they are typically mounted as solitaires in pendants, rings and broaches. If you want to buy a South Sea pearl necklace with pearls that match in size and color, you need to have a large savings account or a very good relationship with your banker.
The unique and exquisite South Sea golden cultured pearls are in highest demand and are grown in North West Australia, Indonesia and Philippines. The deeper golden colors are preferred, but even lighter colors of yellow are in demand. The white South Sea pearls are cultivated in N.W. Australia and Indonesia. They all range in size from 9mm to 19mm (.36 to .76 inch) in diameter and can be found in shapes of round, teardrop, oval and free-form baroque, which is very unique.
As a final note, the Federal Trade Commission of the US government requires sellers of these pearls to clearly identify them as “south sea cultured pearls”. If you have a concern about them being genuine, ask the seller to identify them with the correct description on the sales receipt. If the seller hesitates or refuses, do not buy the pearls. This is a request that a legitimate seller will perform for you.
If you have any comments, questions or concerns about this article, you are invited to contact me at email@example.com or 760-268-0100.
The Author: Paul Buchanan is a Graduate Gemologist and Graduate of the American Institute of Diamond Cutters.