Pearl is one of the prettiest organic gemstones. While India was once the largest producer and consumer of the pearl gemstone, today Japanese, Arabian and Japanese pearl producers rule the segment. Just two decades ago, Japanese Akoya Pearls contributed to 66 percent of the overall market. Since 2000, the Akoya pearl has faced serious contribution from the Chinese pearls that now produce more than 80 percent of the Akoya Pearls every year. Japanese pearl market has scaled down significantly to about 11 percent.
What are Akoya Pearls?
Akoya pearls are produced from Akoya oysters cultivated in sea water. The white and creamy pearls are common but some manufacturers have managed to produce ‘black’ pearls too. Akoya Pearls are cultured pearls derived from the waters off the coast of China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and even Philippines. There are many big names dealing in this particular family of pearls. Akoya pearls are known for their consistent colour shade, hardness and roundness. Unlike the Indian and Arabian pearls, Akoya pearls are available in many shades and sizes which make it easier to market them in international gemstone market.
Akoya pearls are classified into two categories:
- Imperial Pearls
- Classical pearls
An akoya gemstone will have:
- Glossy lustre with extremely high reflection
- Flawless surface finish
- Deep nacre coating
- Perfectly rounded shape
- White appearance with no cloudy or hazy fragments. Rosy or silver overtones are common as well.
When it comes to compare Akoya pearls, there is a standard grading system. Irrespective to their origin, each Akoya pearl bears the same specifications to match international gemstone standards.
Why Akoya pearls are popular?
Akoya pearls are least susceptible to blemishing and yellowing of the surface. Even the low quality Akoya gemstones from Chinese and Japanese pearl fisheries have a good consistency. The following reasons make Akoya pearls popular among international gemstone collectors.
- Shorter production time, that helps producers meet the high market demand
- Minimum post-production polishing and gemstone cutting
- Lower labour cost owing to better quality production
- Guaranteed price, due to high quality cleaning, bleaching, treating and matching of pearl gemstone
- Easy machining ability due to consistent surface quality
Where do Akoya pearls come from?
Akoyal pearl rules the gemstone market on account of the sophisticated culture techniques employed across the South China Sea. It is worth noting that the culture of pearl is now done only in dammed sea water incubator. Pollution and diseased waterways influence the way a pearl exhibits colour and shows physical properties. Diseased pearls lack the lustre and have thinner nacre compared to registered incubators.
In the last decade, Chinese pearls have topped as the most consistent profit drivers in the natural gemstone market. The prices remain stable and the quality is also assured. Most pearls tagged as Akoya are machined to a standard 8 mm diameter to ensure consistency in the matching pairs of gemstones.
The Hanadama Akoya Pearls is one of the most prized gemstones in the natural market. A high-class akoya pearl handama strand can fetch up to $3,500.
: Akoya Pearls