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Large and Luxurius  

South Sea pearls are produced by the Pinctada Maxima South Sea pearl oyster. Silver-lipped South Sea pearl oysters generally produce pearls in the white, silver, aqua and blue family of overtones. The gold-lipped variety produces the cream, champagne, and deeper golden variety, and their warm, golden tones are completely natural, and no treatments are needed to enjoy the beauty of these luxurious gems. 

Their large size, limited culturing area, and extended growth period all combine to make South Sea pearls the rarest of all pearl types. Their colors range from optic white to a deep, honey gold, these pearls are prized by collectors and designers alike. The luster of South Seas pearls, whether white or golden, is soft and luxurious. Only a small percentage of South Seas are spherical and as such, full strands of matched pearls are extremely rare and very expensive. 

Comparing to other types of pearls

White and Golden South Sea pearls are typically larger than other saltwater pearl varieties. The Pinctada Maxima is the largest pearl-producing oyster, and is able to grow a very large pearl. As with other saltwater oysters, the Pinctada maxima is bead-nucleated. However, the growth period is approximately 2-4 years, unlike the akoya pearls, which develop in one to two years, and Tahitian pearls which develop in under two years. 
These factors make White and Golden South Seas both distinctive and valuable. South Sea pearls have the highest value and command the highest prices of all types of pearls. 
The value of a golden South Sea pearl is heavily dependent upon the color; the deeper the golden color, the more valuable the pearl. The overall value of South Sea pearls is higher than akoya or Tahitian. The deepest golden color, often referred to as 24 karat, is considered the most valuable color of all South Sea pearls. 

Color, Shape and Size

South Sea pearls can be found in the range of 8 to 20 mm, with the average being 12 mm. Although extremely rare, some pearls have been found larger than 20 mm. Only 10-30% of each harvest will be round or near-round and we are proud to offer the best and rarest South Sea pearls. Their colors range from optic white to a deep, honey gold:  white, silver, aqua and blue for commonly referred to White South Sea, and cream, champagne, and deeper golden variety for commonly referred to as Golden South Sea.

Baroque and drop-shapes are often used in high-end designer jewelry to showcase their unique shapes and luster. This also makes the South Sea pearls available at a variety of price levels.

Where they come from

The majority of white South Sea pearls are cultured along the northwest coast of Australia. Pearls of the golden variety are also produced primarily in the Philippines and Indonesia - two countries that are quickly becoming the leaders in the finest golden South Sea pearl production.

Adding to their mystique is a colorful past, beginning at the end of the 19th century. In the 1850's, the rough-and-tumble city of Broome, on the northwest coast of Australia, fast became the commercial center for South Sea pearls, despite its seedy reputation. Large-scale commercial pearl culturing began in earnest during the 1950's and has grown steadily since. Today, Broome still dominates the white South Sea pearling industry and has become a beautiful, modern city reflecting the high-tech nature of the business. 

How rare are they?

White South Sea pearls generally retain the highest value of all pearl types. Depending on the quality, shape, and size of a Golden South Sea strand, their prices can be well up into the thousands of dollars, while prices for the White South Seas go even higher. It is quite common for the retail prices of fine quality South Sea necklaces to be in the range of $10,000 to even $300,000 and more.

The baroque shapes are often used individually in unique jewelry pieces which can make them more affordable while still showcasing their natural beauty. Of all the cultured pearl varieties on the market today, South Sea pearls are the undisputed leaders in value. Their large size, combined with the relative scarcity, make them among the most desired as well. A perfect strand of deep golden South Sea pearls in a large size can sell for more than $100,000.

Click here to browse our South Sea pearl collection