Akoya pearl is saltwater pearl cultivated from the akoya oyster. It is commonly known as cultured pearl. Their almost perfectly round shape and extraordinary luster make them the most popular type of pearl jewelry. Akoya pearl demands more market value than freshwater pearl of comparable quality because of their popularity and rarity.
The creation of akoya pearls is like other saltwater pearls. The akoya oysters are nucleated with a bead of mother of pearl. The size of akoya pearls are mostly smaller than that of other type of pearls, ranging from 4 to 9 millimeters. Most akoya pearls are white, cream or golden in color with rose or peacock green overtone color. There is no natural black color akoya pearl. The black akoya pearl existing in the market is not natural color pearl.
Traditionally, Japan is the primary source of cultured akoya pearl. In recent years, Japanese akoya pearl production declined dramatically because of water pollution, disease and market competition. Chinese akoya pearl has become the major source in the pearl market worldwide. The Japanese now import most of their smaller akoya pearls from China and then process and sell them as Japanese akoya pearls. The vast majority of akoya pearls under 7.5 mm in the market are produced in China. However, Japanese still dominates the market of higher quality larger sized akoya pearls.