South Pacific pearls or South Sea pearls are large and pure white pearls, sometimes called "Queens of artificial pearls". They occur in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, especially in the seas near Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Burma.


The pearls of the South Pacific originate in the mollusc Pinctada maxima (also known as mother-of-pearl). There are two species of this mollusc - golden-spiky and silver-peppery. They differ in the colour of the outer edge, which affects the colour of the pearls.

The Pearl of the South Pacific is one of the largest commercially grown pearls in the world. The oyster Pinctada maxima grows up to 31 cm, so it can be nucleated with a larger nucleus than other oysters.

These pearls are unusually strong, 2 to 6 mm (compare eg Akoya pearls 0.35 - 0.7 mm).

Size: 9 - 20 mm - most often 13 mm

Shape: most often oval or in the shape of a drop, less often round

Colour: Typically white, silver or gold

Gloss: soft and silky. The pearl is unusually thick, from 2 to 6 mm, compared to, for example, Akoya pearls, which have a thickness of only 0.35 to 0.7 mm.

 

 Sources used:
The Pearl Book - The Definitive Buying Guide. (2008). 4th ed. Woodstock: GemStone Press, pp. 38-62.
Pearl-guide.com. (2016). South Sea and Tahitian Pearl Grading. [Online] Available at: http://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/content.php?94-South-Sea-and-Tahitian-Pearl-Grading [Accessed 10 Nov. 2016].