South Sea Pearls are pearls that are grown in the Pinctada Maxima oyster. There are two kinds of these oysters, the silver-lipped and the gold-lipped oyster, depending on the colour of the shell lip. They are usually cultured in the Pacific and Indian oceans, mainly in Australia, The Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar. In general it can be stated that South Sea pearls are grown and harvested in the ocean waters south of Japan.
One of the distinctive features that South Sea pearls are known for is their large size. They are generally the largest pearls available on the commercial market. The size of round shaped pearls can vary from 8 mm to over 20 mm. South Sea pearls have an average size that lies between 10 mm and 13 mm, with the exception of the larger white and golden pearls.
Because of the long cultivation period (usually 1.5 to 2 years) perfectly cultivated South Sea pearls are rare and South Sea pearls without imperfections on the pearl surface are sold at premium prices.
South Sea pearls have a unique satin shine that is related to the exceptional thick nacre. The subtle white and golden shading is characteristic for the South Sea pearl.