Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Not just Pearls....Akoya Pearls

Akoya pearls are the classic round white pearl made famous by the most elegant women of our times. In addition, Akoya are the first round pearls to be successfully cultured. In the late 1800’s to early 1900’s pearl cultivation technology was developed in Japan and Akoya saltwater pearls became a part of the worldwide jewelry market.

White Akoya is the classic pearl. Within the classic white pearl color there are also overtones. This is the subtle color the pearl reflects. The pearls themselves have an inner glow that reflects ambient light in a very complementary way so they literally reflect the wearer's radiance.

Recently, darker pearls with more of a metallic, satiny sheen have also become popular. Akoya pearls are now available in these darker colors as well.

The value of each Akoya pearl and finished pearl jewelry piece is dependant on a variety of factors.

The appearance of the pearl is paramount with factors such as luster, roundness and surface quality.

The matching of the pearls on a finished jewelry piece can influence it’s value.

In addition, less visible factors such as nacre thickness may also effect the pearl’s and pearl jewelry’s value.

The most important factor evaluating Akoya pearls is the luster. Luster or shine is how well a pearl reflects. A good example is a mirror. An outstanding luster will have a mirror like shine and very sharp image reflection. You can make out your own facial features. A smaller pearl with better luster will appear larger. Also, a more lustrous pearl will appear rounder and blemishes will be less noticeable.

The size of the pearl also does effect the value. A larger pearl with similar other value factors will be more valuable than a smaller one. However, there is a size range where values increase exponentially. Akoya pearls average between 6mm to 7mm. As a result, pearls at or under that size range are more readily available. When the size range increases to 7mm to 8mm and subsequent 8mm to 9mm and greater than 9mm+ ranges, the value increases dramatically.

As cultured Akoya are bead nucleated, the nacre thickness and quality are both important.

Another pearl value factor is the cleanliness of the body or surface of the pearl. The more clean the surface, the more valuable the pearl. Pearls are a naturally formed organic gem so some minor surfaces blemishes are perfectly acceptable.

Please visit my website for more pieces for purchase from my collection.

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