As demand grew for fine quality Pearls of larger size than the Japanese Akoya Oyster could provide, the Japanese formed alliances with several Asia-Pacific countries.
With clean warm waters and native stocks of the larger White Lip oyster(Pinctada Maxima),these locations were ideal for the development and production of large white and golden pearls up to 22mm diameter.
These agreements saw the local companies providing the raw materials-the oysters, the infrastructure and a suitable marine environment, while the clever Japanese introduced their secret and highly skilled culturing technology adapted to producing large Pearls using bigger nuclei.
Such was the Japanese influence on these collaborations, they were initially able to demand all the pearls produced by these joint ventures would be returned to Japan for marketing – thus retaining their predominance in the world Pearl market.
Australia is generally considered the premier source for the “Rolls Royce” of Cultured Pearls. Originating in the region around Broome in North West Australia, the fine quality heavy nacre coatings of these pearls give them a high value and exclusivity, appealing to the rich and famous.
As time passed the host countries have been able assert themselves and now offer goods direct to the market via Auctions held in Hong Kong.
Oyster: The White Lip/ Gold Lip/ Silver Lip (Pinctada Maxima)
Shapes: Round, Baroque, Drop, Keshi (free form)
Sizes: 7mm to 22mm
Colours: White –with main overtones of silver, pink, cream, gold
Locations: Australia, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand