Which Pearl is Best?

There are four main types of pearls: Akoya, Tahitian, South Sea, and freshwater. All have different qualities that make them ideal for different purposes. Here is a brief guide to help you decide which type of pearl is best for you.



Certain mollusks, such as pearl oysters, form natural pearls in their bodies, or mantle tissues, usually as a result of a tiny irritant and always without any help from humans.

The cultivation of pearls necessitates human involvement and attention. Most of the mollusks utilized in pearl culturing are bred specifically for that purpose today, although wild mollusks are still collected and used.


There are four major types of cultured whole pearls:

Akoya Cultivated Pearls: The most well-known variety of saltwater cultured pearl in the United States and other Western markets is Akoya cultivated pearls. Single-strand necklaces are popular among customers who think of white or cream colored Akoyas as the standard for pearls. Japan and China are both home to Akoya cultivated pearls.

South Sea Cultured Pearls: These saltwater cultivated pearls are typically found in Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Depending on the type of oyster, South Sea cultured pearls can be white to silver or golden. Their value is partly the result of their sheer size and thick nacre, as well as the fact that they require a lengthy growth period.

Tahitian Cultured Pearls: The islands of French Polynesia are the most well-known home of these pearls (the most well-known being Tahiti). These saltwater cultured pearls, also known as black pearls, have a wide color palette. They can be gray, black, or brown and might have blue, green, purple, or pink overtones.

Saltwater pearls are produced or discovered in saltwater oysters that are situated in the sea, ocean, gulf, or bay. When these pearls are 100 percent natural, they do not have a round form; however there are a few cultivated ones known to have a smooth, round shape. Saltwater pearls are more valuable than freshwater pear

Freshwater Cultured Pearls: Freshwater cultured pearls are the most commonly produced pearls and they are one of the most popular pearl types among shoppers and jewelry designers. This is due to their remarkable range of sizes, shapes and colors, plus their commercial availability at lower price points. Pearls are commonly cultivated in freshwater lakes and ponds, often with a large number of pearls produced by one oyster. The majority of freshwater cultured pearls come from China.

Rainbow Pearls: A rainbow pearl is a term used to describe pearls with three or more color variations. These pearls are most often produced in the Western winged (or rainbow lipped) pearl oyster (Pteria sterna), which is native to the Pacific Coast, California, Peru, and Mexico. When these pearls are developed naturally, they can vary from being the shape of seed to being 20 carats and they range from being $100 to $2000 per carat. Because they are cultured (sometimes) they are 7 mm to 12 mm in diameter and inexpensive compared to the natural rainbow pearls.


Both natural and cultured pearls are beautiful, but cultured pearls are more affordable and available in a greater variety of colors and sizes. If you're looking for a special piece of jewelry, either type of pearl would make an excellent choice.

Which type of pearl is best? It depends on what you're looking for! If you want a more affordable option with a greater variety of colors and sizes, then cultured pearls are the way to go. If you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry, then natural pearls are a great option. No matter what you choose, you can't go wrong with either type of pearl.