The term Akoya refers to nucleated saltwater pearls cultivated in the Akoya oyster. The first pearls were cultured in Japan, where the techniques for growing pearls were developed about a hundred years ago.
Only one pearl grows in the Akoya oyster and the period of cultivation is between eight months and two years.
The Akoya shell is no bigger than the palm of a hand and is found mainly in Japan, Korea and China. Its pearls generally grow from 2mm to 9mm, or very rarely 10mm.
The majority of Akoya pearls harvested are round in shape. However, other shapes like baroque, button, oval, drop etc. can also be found.
The base colours in Akoya pearls are primarily white, cream and yellow. Most of the pearls are bleached to remove impurities and often they are also tinted to make their colour more homogeneous. The main colours range from white to silver pink, champagne, cream, yellow and gold, many with some greenish overtone. There is a small harvest of naturally blue in contrast to the treated blue pearls. There are no natural black Akoya pearls! The most rare and expensive colours are the white pink or silver pink and the fancy colours such as dark gold, natural blue, etc. The cheapest are the yellow.