South Sea pearls are among the largest commercially harvested cultured pearls in the world. The average size of a South Sea pearl is 13 mm, with most harvests producing a range of sizes from 9 mm to 20 mm. The South Seas lie between the northern coast of Australia and the southern coast of China. These waters are the native habitat of a large oyster known as Pinctada maxima. This oyster grows up to 12 inches in diameter, and can be nucleated with a much larger bead than other saltwater oysters such as the akoya.
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Black pearls have a mysterious aura surrounding them. Some say black pearls are a symbol of hope for wounded hearts, others say they carry healing powers, while others believe black pearls protect the wearer from negative energy.
Black pearls are found in the Tahitian and French Polynesian Islands. They are exotic, rare, and of exceptional value. In the olden days, black pearls were only worn by royals and nobles, earning them the nicknames of “queen of pearls” and “pearl of queens.” Even though black pearls are now cultivated, they are still rare.