September 29, 2019 5 min read
The Natural Perfection of Akoya Pearls
Confidence, elegance, beauty, and style come in many forms. As a modern, vibrant, and sophisticated woman, you’re always on the lookout for ways to heighten your sense of self, add a touch of wonder to your day, and use your personalised style to send clear messages to the wider world. From taking time to enjoy your morning coffee - made just the way you like it - at your favourite cafe, to selecting the accessories and items of jewellery that speak volumes about your personality, your unique approach to life, and your exquisite taste, each day presents a wealth of opportunities for making each moment count.
That’s where Akoya pearls come into the picture. These beautiful, natural, and timeless gems are nothing short of a gift from the sea, brought to land to bring that sense of wonder and elegance to your daily routine. No other gem possesses the same timeless appeal, the same sense of classic beauty - at once both gloriously vintage and effortlessly modern - as an Akoya pearl. No wonder, then, that women across the globe have fallen in love with these droplets of purity for millennia, and continue to adore their perfection and flawlessness to this day.
Let’s take a moment to dive into the pristine, watery depths of the Akoya pearl, and discover more about this most precious and hypnotic of oceanic treasures.
What are Akoya Pearls?
The Akoya pearl is, from a purely technical perspective, a cultured saltwater pearl formed by the Akoya oyster (Latin name Pinctada Fucata Martensii). Of course, such technical terms can never do justice to one of nature’s greatest treasures; these spheres of unrivalled delight which have intrigued those in love with beauty and elegance since time immemorial. The delight of pearls is not merely where they come from, or the miracle of their formation - it’s that they represent woman’s eternal connection with the wave, with the moon, and with the essence of grace that these gems possess in abundance.
Akoya pearls have a long, long history of cultivation - they’ve been valued and treasured by cultures worldwide across the ages, and have graced crown jewels, items of haute-joillerie of priceless value, and icons of style, grace, and sophistication. Indeed, when one thinks of the classic pearl necklaces, bracelets, and other items of jewellery of the silver screen, it is Akoya pearls - in all their pristine glory - which spring to mind. This is partly due to their relative ease of cultivation and the industry which has grown around these beautiful gems, just as much as it is about their mirror-like lustre and incomparable intrigue.
Oriental Waters and Unearthly Beauty
It should come as no real surprise that Akoya pearls primarily come from the waters surrounding the myriad islands of Japan, where the purity of beauty, natural treasures, and geometric perfection (evident in the precise spherical shape of Akoya pearls, one of the key attributes which make them so valued) have always been treasured.
While there was a history of Akoya pearl cultivation in China, the delicate eco-system required for Akoya oysters to flourish was damaged by over-industrialisation, resulting in the almost absolute collapse of the Chinese akoya pearl industry. In more recent years, Akoya pearls have been successfully cultivated in Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and various islands in the southern seas, adding new dimensions, visual cultures, and approaches to the time-honoured art of pearl farming and collecting.
Akoya Pearls: Perfection Incomparable
One doesn’t have to be a woman in possession of a degree in gemology, or any kind of expert whatsoever, to be able to ascertain the key differences between Akoya pearls and freshwater pearls of other types and from other sources. The most striking aspect of Akoya pearls, and one of the main reasons why they’ve historically been considered so valuable and worthy of attention, is due to their shape. Akoya pearls have a gorgeous spherical purity - the kind of shape which genuinely holds within it some of the marvels of nature. This unique and beautiful shape is a result of the way Akoya pearls are formed within the oyster shell; typically with a bead composed from mother-of-pearl, around which the pearl itself is generated.
Of course, the shape isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of the Akoya pearl's unique intrigue and beauty. Akoya pearls are renowned for their lustre; that iridescent, mirror-like finish on the surface of the pearl, which seems to glow with a lunar quality quite unlike any found on any other gem. Their high levels of lustrousness, their relative rarity, and their stunning form all come together to produce the foundation of some of the most striking jewellery a woman could wear today.
A Spectrum of Treasures, Sourced From the Sea
In a world of artificial trinkets, man-made materials, and an endless cavalcade of pollutants, plastics, and distractions from nature, the sea-borne beauty of Akoya pearls becomes all the more precious, and all the more worthy of the modern woman’s attention. Remember; these beautiful gems are a product of one of nature’s myriad miracles, and as such, they’re full of variation, surprises, and fascinating features.
Akoya pearls vary in a number of different ways, meaning women who simply adore their purity and perfection have plenty to choose from, when considering the Akoya pearls which are best for their personal sense of style. The first of these variations are in the size of the pearls themselves. Akoya pearls are smaller than their South Sea counterparts, and tend to measure around 7mm in diameter. However, some are larger, and some are far smaller, making them suitable for ever-more elaborate items of jewellery requiring greater numbers of pearls.
The other key variant that never fails to quicken the heart and gain plenty of attention is that of colour and tone. As we all know, the base colour of the vast majority of Akoya pearls is a beautiful, pure, and almost unearthly white, with some pearls have a greyish tint to them. Look closer, however, and see how the beautiful lustre of the Akoya pearl emits other colours, too; some displaying silver overtones, others with a pinkish hue, and others yet with a green pallor, clues to the underwater world from where they were harvested. Certain rare Akoya pearls are found to have a blue tone with pink and silver flourishes to their lustre, and almost every harvest will reveal the unforgettable beauty of high-lustre baroque and Keshi pearls - treasures to be cherished, indeed.
There’s little doubt about the fact that Akoya pearls are one of the great gifts of nature to the world; a boon from the sea, made available for those of us who walk on land. With every item of Akoya pearl jewellery, you’re connecting yourself to not only centuries of style, adoration, and elegance, but a natural process through which we can align ourselves with the elements, and which has breathtakingly beautiful results. Modern life and contemporary womanhood may be hectic; we all may spend far too much time rushing around, and far too little time luxuriating in nature. Akoya pearls are not only a stunning gem, which glow against the skin - they’re a reminder that the waves, the moon, the beauty of the endless sky and sea are never far away.