What are Akoya pearls and should you buy them?

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What are Akoya pearls? Why are they so special? And and should you buy them? We have heard a lot of pearls, famous ones including South Sea pearls, Tahitian pearls, Conch pearls, Melo Melo pearls and so on.

Akoya pearls are not as familiar to many people. In this article we will discuss what they are and why they are so special.

What are Akoya pearls? Properties, shapes, sizes, luster

Akoya pearls are named after the species of shell that gives birth to the pearl: Akoya. They are mostly white, light gold and silver blue with a pink hue, round in shape, small to middle sized, mainly between 4mm and 9mm, with a strong luster.

In fact, due to the small size of the shell, one Akoya can only breed only one Akoya pearl, which is different from freshwater mussels that can produce 30- 40 pearls. This is one of the reasons that make them precious.

Shape: round

Akoya pearls are mostly round since they are nucleated, and the more perfectly round they are, the higher the price. Oval and irregular baroque pearls are also available.

What are Akoya pearls and should you buy them?

Mizuki 14kt yellow gold Akoya pearl short necklace $683, SHOP NOW.

Size: small to middle sized

Because of the small size of the marsupial shells that produce Akoya pearls, the size of these Japanese pearls is also relatively small, mainly between 4mm and 9mm. Those over 9mm are very expensive. In addition, Akoya pearls smaller than 6mm are now very rare too.

Luster: strong and morror-like

They have a beautiful and variable luster which is different from that of freshwater pearls, depending on the environment and the mother-of-pearl.

In fact, the luminosity of these pearls is amazing! They are usually mirror-like and have the strongest luster and halo of any pearl! Akoya pearls with a strong mirror like luster can even allow us to see our own faces clearly on the surface. This is why they are known as the “little light bulb” of the pearl world.

Minor flaws: unavoidable

Due to the characteristics of the mother-of-pearl and the environment in which it is cultured, it is difficult to find Akoya pearls with an absolutely mirror-smooth surface. Even the highest quality ones have minor imperfections as well. Absolutely mirror-smooth Akoya pearls are extremely rare and expensive.

So when selecting Akoya pearls, it is good to look at these natural flaws with an open mind.

Colors: white, gold and blue Akoya pearls

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Yoko London 18kt white gold Classic Akoya pearl stud earrings $133, SHOP NOW.

The body color of Akoya pearls is usually white with a distinctive rose hue. The unique shade of rose pink is considered to be strikingly beautiful, a favorite of many discerning people. It is soft, elegant, dreamy and precious.

Colors are divided into three categories: white, light gold and silver blue.

White akoya pearls

Hanadama花珠: A common name for white Akoya pearls of high quality, generally referring to the top 5% of Akoya pearls.

TEN-NYO天女: They are the top of the range of white Hanadama pearls, the ones with the strongest interfering colors, with no or minimal surface flaws, perfectly round shape, strongest luster and companion color, and a layer thicker than 0.5 mm. The luster of TEN-NYO pearls is so varied and shimmering that you can’t even pick one out of one thousand!

Blue Akoya pearls

Madama真多麻: Madama pearls are top quality Akoya pearls with a unique silver-blue-gray tone with pink or green accompaniments and a metallic luster that is striking.

The blue color of madama pearls is caused by the organic material inside the pearl. In addition, with the change of light and angle, a madama pearl necklace will gradually show a changing silver blue – silver purple – silver green luster. This vivid color change is so fascinating that all words and pictures are powerless to describe it.

However, it is difficult to find madama pearls that are superior in both color and shape. The more intense the basic color and the accompanying color, the poorer the shape and the more imperfections; conversely, madama pearls of ideal shape are lighter in color.

Values and pricing

Akoya pearls are more expensive than freshwater pearls. Since the mussel of these pearls can only produce one pearl in its lifetime, and qualified pearls need to be round, free of flaws, and balanced in color, it can be difficult to find a high quality Akoya pearl.

Currently the selling price usually ranges from $500 to $1000. Akoya pearl jewelry from internationally known brands is even more expensive.

Where are they found?

The main source of Akoya pearls is Japan, concentrated in Mie, Yumoto and Ehime, where the water temperature is 15- 25°C and the waves are calm. In addition, they are also produced along the coasts of Guangdong and Guangxi Province in China.

The Chinese Akoya pearls are relatively more resistant to disease and have better growth ability because of the high seawater temperature, but the pearls produced are less lustrous and the pearl layer is slightly thinner than the Japanese ones.

Famous Japanese brands that create Akoya pearl jewelry


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TASAKI 18kt rose gold Balance Plus Akoya pearl earrings $3,350, SHOP NOW.

Founded in 1954, TASAKI is a jewelry brand that integrates pearl farming, processing and sales. TASAKI has its own pearl farms and diamond grinding factories both in Japan and abroad, and is also a company with “high-end diamond cutting technology”.

Entering its 60th anniversary, TASAKI has opened stores in multiple cities around the world, including Tokyo, New York, Paris, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei and Seoul.

Like magicians, TASAKI’s designers have changed the traditional style of pearls and created incredible surprises through simple arrangements and combinations.

The iconic Balance collection

TASAKI’s most famous collection, Balance, could not be simpler or minimalist. It is really difficult to imagine that just a few pearls arranged in a straight line can be so modern and contemporary!

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TASAKI 18kt yellow gold petit Balance Akoya pearl and solo diamond pendant necklace $2,790, SHOP NOW.

The Balance collection is a pure and simple design that showcases the two core elements of TASAKI – pearls and diamonds. The juxtaposition of pearls and diamonds on a straight line of metal is an incredible contrast between the two precious gemstones. This collection is dynamic and gorgeous.

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TASAKI 18kt yellow gold Balance Note Collection Line Akoya pearl stud earrings $2,110, SHOP NOW.

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TASAKI 18kt yellow gold Balance Neo Akoya pearl ring $3,260, SHOP NOW.


Desire and destruction, the dark and bright side of nature, the strength and softness of women – all these contradictions are present in TASAKI’s iconic “Danger” collection.

The combination of lustrous Akoya pearls and sharp 18-karat gold teeth vividly depicts the moment when a carnivorous plant devours its prey, exuding an enchanting and dangerous mystique.

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TASAKI 18kt yellow gold Danger Collection Line Akoya pearl earrings $2,230, SHOP NOW.

Refined Rebellion

This collection combines “elegance” and “rebellion” in a design that clashes the senses. The angular shape in this collection is both stylish and elegant and full of charm.

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TASAKI 18kt yellow gold Refined Rebellion Signature earrings $1,590, SHOP NOW.

How to choose high quality Akoya pearls?

The selection of Akoya pearls is based on several factors: size, roundness, luster, color, flaws. When making a purchase, we have to pay attention to that good quality Akoya pearls are inevitably rounder, brighter, more lustrous, often with accompanying colors, and have fewer imperfections.


Thank you for reading this article. If it is helpful to you, comment below to let me know or check other articles on pearls that we have published: Pearl colors: A complete guide with categories, meanings and images.
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