South Sea Pearl
"South Sea Pearl" is used sometimes as a general term signifying any saltwater pearl found in the area extending from the Philippines and Indonesia down to Australia and across to French Polynesia. More often than not, it refers specifically to large white or yellow pearls cultured in the Pinctada Maxima oyster--a large oyster found in the South Seas and also called the silver-lip or yellow-lip (also gold-lip) oyster depending on the color of its shell lip. Thus South Sea pearls are typically white and golden in color.
South Sea pearls tend to range from 9-19 mm whereas Akoya pearls usually range from 1-10 mm in diameter. Moreover, even though some of these large pearls are growing to 20mm in diameter, which is a spectacular size, they are always almost perfectly round. South Sea pearls also have a unique, satiny luster that comes from the nacre ranging from 2- 6 mm in thickness which is quite unusual. So they are the rarest and most valuable of all pearls.
Reasons for South Sea pearls growing to such large sizes larger as compared with other saltwater pearl counterparts are the large size of the Pinctada maxima oyster, the size of the implanted bead, its 2-year growth period in the oyster, and the rich-breeding environment of the oyster.
Since 1980s, the Pinctada Maxima oysters have been cultured in the China South Sea. To see PearlHours's South Sea Pearl Collections.