Types of Pearl

The word ‘Pearl’ derived from Latin Perula, which simply means the son of the sea. Pearls are dignified, brilliant, elegant, and pure. It is also known as the Queen of Gems. Pearls symbolize health, tranquility, and wealth. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) listed pearls as June’s birthstone and the lucky stone for the 13th and 30th wedding anniversary due to its magnificent colors and elegant qualities.

Symbolizing health, purity, wealth, and happiness, Pearl has been loved by people since ancient times. At 4000 BC, according to Chinese historical documentaries, Pearls are usually offered as tribute from one country to another. This is to established their relationship and to show their sincerity and loyalty. On the other hand, pearl has been recognized as an iconic style of Princess Diana, as Princess Diana effortlessly and inimitably sets off pearls with elegance.

Feeling doubtful about the formation of Pearl? Pearl is an organic gemstone composed of calcium carbonate. It formed when an ‘outsiders’—usually parasites or sands, entered the mother of pearl, known as oyster or clam. To protect itself, the natural protective system of the mother oyster secreted a glutinous fluid (known as ‘Nacre’) to fully coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this fluid coating is then deposited on the irritant until a lustrous pearl is formed. You will find that the thicker the nacre layer, the more luster it is. Undeniably, it is a long journey for every little pearl to be formed as the formation of a pearl takes months to years.

Pearls are all wild and naturally formed until 1893, a Japanese entrepreneur successfully generated the first cultured pearl. Since then, almost 99% of pearls in the globe are cultured pearl. Cultured pearl does not mean it is synthetic or man-made. A cultured pearl is formed naturally in a pearl farm using human intervention and undergoes natural processes for a better-controlled situation. A live oyster shell is pried up to only 2 to 3 centimeters, it enables the pearl technician to implant a ‘nucleus’ which is formed by mollusk. This allows it to undergo the same process as wild pearls.

These cultured pearls can be categorized into two groups, seawater cultured pearl (saltwater pearl) and freshwater cultured pearl. Nonetheless, there is a big difference between the two categories. Unlike seawater pearls that can only produce one at a time, a freshwater pearl is capable to produce up to 30 pearls out of a mollusk. Moreover, seawater pearls are more rounded in shape as compared to freshwater pearls. Here is some simple explanation regarding the two categories of Pearls.

Firstly, freshwater pearls are grown in rivers and lakes. It is normally sized between 2 to 14mm with nearly round, button, and baroque shapes. Freshwater pearl has the widest range of natural colors. It ranges from white, pink, lavender as well as a myriad of dyed options. In Yukimoto, our freshwater pearls are originated from Borneo and Japan.

There are 3 most popular Sea cultured pearl types, known as Akoya pearls, South sea pearls, and Tahitian pearls.



Akoya pearl is imported from Japan. It is well-known for its mirror-like lustre, coupled with a perfectly round shape. Akoya pearl is typically small in size, with the measurement of 3mm to 10mm. The most preferred color by experienced pearl enthusiasts and retailers is the classic white pearl, with hints of rose, silver, and cream color. Moreover, Akoya pearl is rarely formed in champagne gold color. Occasionally, it may also be treated to achieve a black body color.

South sea pearl is usually grown between 8mm to 20mm. It is shaped from round to near round and baroque. With a wide range of color from silky silver to champagne to deep golden tones. Among all the color tones, dark golden South Sea pearls are considered the rarest, extraordinary and valuable.

Tahitian pearl, derived from its origin which they are primarily cultivated— Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia, the South Pacific archipelago. The Tahitian pearl is well known for its glittering black tone. It is also the only pearl that has a natural black body tone. However, they can range from dark green to light silver in color too. The Tahitian pearl is inherently round, near round, and baroque in shape. Tahitian pearls range from 9mm to 16mm in size.

This is a simple guide of Pearl types that are commonly seen in the market. If you are hesitant or unsure about which gemstone to opt for, pearls would be your best choice as its elegance is the beauty that never fades.

‘Pearls are always appropriate. ’as quoted by Jackie Kennedy.