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South Sea Cultured Pearls



White and golden South Sea pearls are among the largest cultured pearls in the world. The average size range  of  most 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. 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 South Sea pearl jewelry available on the market today. Including the classic strand with stud earrings.  But you musn't limit yourself to just the basics.  Consider a South Sea pearl enhancer, South Sea pearl ring or fantastic South Sea pearl earrings to dress up your classic strand and grow your South Sea Pearl wardrobe.