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Japanese vs Chinese akoya pearls

Japanese Akoya pearl had monopolized whole pearl industry for last century. But that comes to an end. Because of pollution, disease and competition from China, Japanese Akoya pearl production decreased dramatically in last decade. Chinese Akoya pearl has become the major source of the pearl industry. Today more than %80 Akoya pearl sold in the market are originated from China.

Most companies in Japan are now turning to China as their main pearl source. They are the largest buyers of Chinese Akoya pearls. The pearls are imported from China to Japan, processed, and tagged "Made in Japan", then sold at much higher price than Chinese Akoya pearls.


Most Japanese Akoya pearls are originated from China except larger sized (more than 8 mm) Akoya pearls.   Jewelers Circular Keystone which is the undisputed industry authority since 1869 has recently announced that the phrase "Japanese Akoya Pearls" is no longer an accurate industry term, and should not be used.

Today, Chinese can culture same quality smaller sized Akoya pearls (less than 8 mm) as Japanese. But they have not yet mastered larger sized Akoya pearl (more than 8.5 mm) farming technique.