Understanding Pearl Sizes: Akoya and South Sea Pearls

Why are the pearls I bought so small?

There's a common scenario in the world of pearl jewelry - a customer receives their beautiful Akoya pearl pendant, only to consider a return, feeling the pearl is smaller than expected. This mix-up, often stemming from confusion between Akoya and South Sea pearls, highlights the importance of understanding these two distinct varieties of pearls.


Akoya Pearls: Lustrous Beauties in Delicate Sizes


Originating primarily from Japan, Akoya pearls are renowned for their exceptional luster and iridescence. These pearls are famous for their rich, mirror-like sheen and a range of hues. While some exhibit cool tones like white, blue, or green, others charm with warm hues like gold, red, or champagne.


The size of Akoya pearls typically ranges from about 2mm to 11mm, with most falling between 6mm and 8mm. This relatively modest size is part of their appeal, offering a delicate and refined elegance.


The smaller size of Akoya pearls doesn't detract from their beauty; instead, it accentuates their intense luster and the play of color, known as orient, which is especially visible in good light.

South Sea Pearls: Majestic in Size and Beauty


For those who desire larger pearls, South Sea pearls are an excellent choice. Harvested from the waters of Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, these pearls are known for their impressive size, which can range from 8mm to 20mm, with most averaging around 10mm to 15mm.


South Sea pearls are less about intense luster and more about their large size and deep, satiny glow. Their colors also tend to be more muted compared to Akoya pearls, usually showcasing whites, creams, and silvers, with some golden varieties.

Choosing the Right Pearl for You

When selecting a pearl, it's crucial to understand these differences. If you are drawn to the brilliance and rainbow-like orient of pearls and prefer a smaller, more classic size, Akoya pearls are your go-to choice. Their luster and array of colors, both cool and warm, make them versatile for various jewelry styles.


However, if your heart is set on a bold statement piece and size is a priority, South Sea pearls will meet your expectations. Their grandeur and subtle elegance make them perfect for standout jewelry pieces.

Whether you choose the radiant Akoya or the majestic South Sea pearl, each brings its own unique story and elegance to your jewelry collection.