South Sea Pearl Gemstone & Information | Gemopedia by JTV | Gemopedia™

South Sea Pearl

Highly coveted South Sea pearls are often described as the pinnacle of cultured pearls--they're certainly among the most rare and expensive available. Primarily farmed in the pristine waters off Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia, South Sea pearls are generally much larger than other pearl types, ranging from nine to 20 millimeters, and have a unique luster due to their nacre coating. As there are two varieties of this oyster, a gold-lipped and silver-lipped, pearls can be both white to silver and golden.

Colors

Gray, White, Cream, Yellow, Pink, Purple With Blue, Green Overtone

  • South-sea-pearl classification

    CommonName
    South Sea Pearl
    Species
    Cultured Pearl
    Variety
    South Sea Pearl
    Colors
    Gray, White, Cream, Yellow, Pink, Purple With Blue, Green Overtone
    AlternateNames
    GemstoneGroups
    KeySeparations
    Appearance, RI, birefringence blink and magnification. A "tooth test" is commonly used in which a pearl is rubbed against a tooth; if gritty, this is an indication that the surface is nacre, versus plastic and glass imitations that feel smooth.
    ClassificationComments
    Typical size of a South Sea pearl runs 10 to 15mm; They are produced by silver and gold lipped Pinctada maxima mollusk.
  • South-sea-pearl chemistry & crystallography

    ChemicalName
    calcium carbonate + conchiolin and water
    ChemicalFormula
    CaCO3
    Synthesis
    CrystalSystem
    NA
    ChemistryClassification
    Organic
    Nature
    Cultured
    Crystallinity
    ChemistryComments
  • South-sea-pearl optical properties

    Transparency
    Translucent - Opaque
    Dispersion
    OpticalComments
    RefractiveIndex
    1.53-1.685
    Birefringence
    0.155
    OpticCharacter
    NA
    OpticSign
    NA
    PolariscopeReaction
    Aggregate (AGG)
    Fluorescence
    SWUV: Variable
    LWUV: Variable
    CCFReaction
    Pleochroism
    None
  • South-sea-pearl characteristic physical properties

    Hardness
    2.5-4
    CharacteristicComments
    Streak
    SpecificGravity
    2.72-2.78
    Toughness
    Good
    Inclusions
    South Sea pearls tend to be more spotted than Akoya. They have a thicker nacre coat compared to other saltwater pearls. If the pearl is drilled you can inspect the hole to look for bead nucleus.
    Luster
    Dull
    Stability
    Poor
    Fracture
    Uneven
    Cleavage
    None