Saltwater Pearl

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June Birthstone

The term saltwater pearl refers to the pearls that are harvested in marine environments such as bays, gulfs, and seas. South Sea, Tahitian, Akoya, and Sea of Cortez Pearls are the best known cultured saltwater varieties. Cultured saltwater pearls are more expensive than freshwater varieties.

Saltwater Pearl Polished
Saltwater Pearl Classification
Common Name Saltwater Pearl
Species Pearl
Saltwater Pearl Optical Properties
Transparency Opaque-Translucent
Refractive Index 1.530-1.685
Birefringence 0.155
Optic Character NA
Optic Sign NA
Polariscope Reaction Aggregate (AGG)
Fluorescence SWUV: Variable
LWUV: Variable
CCF Reaction None
Pleochroism None
Saltwater Pearl Characteristic Physical Properties
Streak white
Toughness Good
Inclusions If the pearl is drilled you can inspect the hole to look for bead nucleus.
Luster Metallic, Dull, Pearly
Stability Poor
Fracture Uneven
Cleavage None
Saltwater Pearl Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name calcium carbonate + conchiolin and water
Chemical Formula CaCO3
Crystal System NA
Chemistry Classification Organic

Saltwater Pearl Colors

  • Multi-color Saltwater Pearl Multi-color
  • White Saltwater Pearl White
  • Blue Saltwater Pearl Blue
  • Black Saltwater Pearl Black
  • Yellow Saltwater Pearl Yellow
  • Gray Saltwater Pearl Gray

Alternate Names

South Sea Pearl, Tahitian Pearl, Akoya Pearl, Sea of Cortez Pearl, Seed Pearl, Abalone Pearl

Countries of Origin

China; Italy


Avoid cosmetics, perfumes, hairsprays, heat and household chemicals.

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Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.