Akoya Pearls are cultured from the pinctada fucata martensii oyster, primarily in Japan, although increasingly in China. The Akoya is a small pearl producing oyster that produces a very high lustre pearl, consistently round and ranging in size from between 2 – 11mm.
The Akoya is the Classic Pearl, with strands uniform in pearl sizes rather than graduated. The colours produced are shades of white with tones of pink, cream and silver. The pearls are widely recognised and admired for the pink tones typically produced.
The Akoya Pearl is closely connected with Mikimoto who were the first Japanese pioneering family to produce the cultured pearl. It was the Akoya that was farmed in Japan initially. Mikimoto has now developed into a very famous and well know brand that sells both Akoya and South Sea Pearls. However the origin of the company was firmly steeped in the production of the uniquely perfect Akoya Pearl.
While China produces higher quantities of pearls than Japan, the pearls produced in China tend to be smaller and often of lower quality. Methods of farming in China are improving, largely as a result of the increased Japanese involvement in the farms in China. As a result the quality of the Pearls produced in China is getting better with the passing of time. However larger sized strands from 8mm and above are still only produced in Japan.
The Akoya Strand is a popular choice for weddings because of the simple classic presentation and the particularly high lustre of the pearls. The quality of pearl production generally has been improving over recent years with increased knowledge and technology. As a result the quality of the pearls is more enduring. A quality strand represents a valuable piece of jewellery that can be passed on to the next generation. While pearls may have been traditionally considered something for the older generation, they are now making a firm come back with pearls taking centre stage at fashion festivals and high end events.