White and golden South Sea pearls are among the largest cultured pearls in the world. The average size range of most golden South Sea pearls is 9-16mm and can rarely be found as large as 17-20mm The South Seas lie between the northern coast of Australia and the southern coast of China. These waters are the native habitat of a large oyster known as Pinctada maxima. The South Seas are also extremely clean, and filled with plankton - the Pinctada maxima's favorite food source. This oyster grows up to 12 inches in diameter, and can be nucleated with a much larger bead than other saltwater oysters such as the akoya.
There are two varieties of Pinctada maxima, the silver-lipped and the gold-lipped. The two are distinguished by their distinct coloration of the outer edge of the interior shell, and is responsible for the coloration of the cultured pearls produced, therefore the name. Unlike some other oysters and mollusks, the South Sea oyster will only accept one nucleation at a time. The oyster is nucleated when it is only about half developed, from 4.5 inches to 6.5 inches in size, or about 2 years old. Although the South Sea oyster will only handle one nucleus at a time, this oyster (like the Tahitian pearl producing Pinctada margaritifera) can be nucleated up to three times over the course of their life.
There is a wide variety of golden South Sea pearl jewelry available on the market today, including the classic strand with stud earrings. But you mustn't limit yourself to just the basics. Consider a golden South Sea pearl enhancer, golden South Sea pearl ring or fantastic golden South Sea pearl earrings to dress up your classic strand and grow your golden South Sea pearl wardrobe.