We can thank the Pinctada maxima mollusk for producing the South Sea pearls that we love so much! These pearls are cultured in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, primarily Australia, the Philipines, Indonesia and Myanmar.
There are four reasons South Sea pearls can grow to such large sizes, dwarfing many of their other saltwater pearl counterparts.
- The large size of the Pinctada maxima
- The size of the implanted bead
- The length of time the pearl is left to grow in the oyster
- The oyster’s environment
What makes South Sea pearls so unique?
South Sea pearls have several distinct characteristics that are unique to this gem. The nacre is unusually thick, ranging from 2 – 6 mm, compared to the 0.35 – 0.7 mm of an akoya pearl. South Sea pearls have a unique, satiny luster that comes from the rapidly deposited nacre and warm waters of the South Seas. South Sea pearls also have a subtle array of colors; typically white, silver, and golden, that are rare in other pearl types.