Types of cultured pearls

I have a passion for pearls and I want to share that passion with you. As a pearl specialist you can rest assured that I will use my experience and knowledge of pearls to bring you handmade and individually designed cultured pearl jewellery.

So what does this mean for you as a buyer?


  • I will always be honest in my description of pearls, not just you their size and colour but also in terms of their quality. 

  • A word of warning. If you see adverts for "pearl parties" or for pearl containing oysters please please do not get involved or buy these. The oysters are not genuine pearl bearing ones and the pearls that are inserted into these are low quality Chinese freshwater pearls. 

  • It is the varying quality of pearls that means what may at first appear to be identical necklaces may have very different price tags, but this also means that whatever your budget a cultured pearl necklace is affordable. 

  • My product descriptions include a description of the type and quality of pearls used as well as close-up pictures to help you make your choice.

An overview of different types of cultured pearls.
South Sea Pearls
Freshwater pearls

The majority of cultured pearls on sale today are Chinese freshwater cultured pearls. These pearls are grown in pearl bearing mussels rather than oysters but at their best their quality can rival that of Japanese Akoya pearls and Chinese pearl farmers are developing some of the most amazing and unique pearls.These pearls range from nugget pearls, through the amazing shapes of  Biwa pearls to top end highly lustrous round pearls.

Peacock keshi pearl choker
Akoya pearls

Japanese akoya pearls are white, round and beautifully lustrous. They are farmed in salt water using the akoya oyster,  the smallest one used in pearl cultivation. Suitable areas around the coastline of Japan are limited and this together with the fact that each oyster will only produce one pearl at a time contributes towards the higher price as does the fact that only 5-10%  are of gem quality.

handkknotted pearl necklace
Tahitian Pearls

Tahitian pearls are actually grown in Polynesia and are most famous for producing  black pearls. These dark coloured Tahitian pearls are actually a dark green or blue with beautiful "oil slick" iridescent overtones.  Although the dark coloured Tahitian pearls are most famous ,today the lighter shades are also popular. The rarity of the oysters themselves together with the time-consuming and skillful processes involved in farming and unique beauty of these pearls all contribute towards their value. 

Pair of black Tahitian pearls
South Sea Pearls

South Sea pearls are the most valuable of all cultured pearls due to a number of factors including the fact they can be very large, the very limited area in which they can be successfully farmed and the slower rate at which they grow together.  White pearls are produced in Australia while  golden pearls are farmed in the Philippines. The oyster which grows these  pearls is very delicate, rare and can only be successfully farmed where it is found naturally.

White South Sea pearl