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Understanding the Pros and Cons of the 5 Main Types of Pearls - The Bead Traders

Understanding the Pros and Cons of the 5 Main Types of Pearls

Pearls are a fascination that has captured humans' minds, eyes, and hearts throughout many civilizations and generations. They are known for timeless elegance, beauty, divinity, and simplicity, which add to their grace. Royalty and other classes have been known to wear pearls in various ways, including beautiful necklaces and bracelets.

Discovering  Types of Pearls

With this in mind, choosing the right pearl can be a daunting experience. You'll want a pearl that genuinely speaks to you to create a stunning, beautiful, and meaningful design.

Join us as we explore the 5 main types of pearls and the benefits of each category.

The Significance of Pearls

Pearls are not just aesthetically pleasing; they hold profound symbolic significance for many cultures worldwide, historically and today. Pearls symbolize purity, rarity, divinity, grace, femininity, and other gentle vibrations and energy forms. Pearls also represent a longing for love, wisdom, and prosperity in numerous cultures. 

Pearls were initially found ashore by very early human civilizations, so they were a fundamental design that has been passed down throughout the centuries. As they have always done, pearls are trendy for heirloom pieces but are most known to adorn brides, primarily those who preserve their traditions and wish to complement a beautiful white dress.

The 5 Main Types of Pearls

Every pearl is beautiful in its own way and can be used to craft a wide range of jewelry. Below, we will explore the 5 most common types of pearls, where they can be found, and some advantages and drawbacks of selecting them.

Akoya Pearls

When you picture the classic white bead, you most likely associate pearls with the Akoya pearl. Akoya pearls are iconic and cultivated within some Asian countries, most notably Japan and China. Akoya pearls have a brilliant luster and a round shape, making them a prized possession and highly sought-after.

The pearls are smaller than other types, making them timelessly elegant and complementing the themes of grace, wisdom, and love, which can be used in contemporary designs and their more-traditional counterparts.


  • Known for their high luster and round shape.
  • Generally smaller in size, ranging from 2mm to 10mm.


  • Can be more expensive compared to freshwater pearls.
  • Limited color range, typically white or cream with subtle overtones.

Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater pearls are well-known for their affordability and availability and are one of the most abundant types of pearls on the market. They are found within freshwater mollusks that thrive in lakes and rivers. The pearl is formed by inserting a nucleus into a mussel or oyster (or waiting for it to happen naturally), then cultured into a pearl.

Due to their abundance and diverse nature, freshwater pearls come in different shapes, sizes, hues, and colors. Freshwater pearls are perhaps the most versatile for jewelry making, allowing you to pair them with all other types of gems and designs to make a unique collection.


  • Wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes available.
  • Generally more affordable compared to saltwater pearls.
  • Cultivated in freshwater environments, making them more sustainable at a larger scale.
  • Versatile and suitable for a wide range of jewelry designs.


  • Lower luster compared to saltwater pearls.
  • Less round and symmetrical shapes compared to some saltwater pearls.

Tahitian Pearls

Chances are, you may have already heard of Tahitian pearls, even if you have never dabbled in jewelry making before. These were coveted during the late 17th and 18th centuries among traders, aristocrats, and royalty; you may know them as "black pearls." 

Tahitian pearls are cultivated in French Polynesia and are most abundantly collected from the water around the islands of Tahiti. Although they are referred to as "black pearls," there is an assortment of shades that range from dark charcoal black to even deep purple, blues, and greens. Collectors are very fond of Tahitian pearls for their luster and large size.


  • Exotic and distinctive colors, ranging from charcoal gray to peacock green.
  • Large sizes are available, with some pearls exceeding 15mm in diameter.
  • High luster and natural iridescence.
  • Rare and beautiful


  • Higher price point compared to freshwater pearls.
  • Limited availability due to the specific cultivation region.
  • Some products may have surface imperfections or irregular shapes.
  • Large size makes them a valued collector's item, but they do not fit various jewelry designs.

South Sea Pearls

South Sea pearls are beautiful, powerful, and valuable. They are perhaps the largest pearls that are available on the market. Depending on the region, the pearl can have different types of luster, sometimes presenting a satin appearance. The colors of South Sea pearls range from a silver-gray shade to creamy white and even a golden or sunshine-gold yellow.

  • Exquisite luster and satiny appearance.
  • Large sizes are available, with some pearls exceeding 20mm in diameter.
  • Highly valued for their rarity and luxurious appeal.


  • Higher price point compared to other types of pearls.
  • Limited availability due to the specific cultivation regions.

White South Sea

As a subsection of South Sea Pearls, white South Sea pearls are primarily found in the waters around Australia and some parts of Indonesia. They have a classic beauty that matches the traditional "white" elegance that ranges from creamy white to clear and radiant lusters.

Golden South Sea

Many fine jewelers and collectors frequently purchase from the waters of The Philippines and Indonesia, which hold a large assortment of yellow and gold hues.

Sea of Cortez Pearls

Sea of Cortez Pearls are unique and primarily found off the coast of Mexico. Unlike other pearls, they have a wide range of colors not typically known for traditional pearl arrangements and collections. Some pearls found within the Sea of Cortez include shades of pink, light blue, purple, and green.

These types of pearls are rare, and collectors and jewelers opt to purchase them both for display and for ornate jewelry.

  • Stunning array of natural colors, including pink, purple, blue, and green.
  • Exceptional luster and unique beauty.
  • Prized for their rarity and individuality.


  • Extremely rare
  • Not very versatile

Why are Keshi Pearls Different?

Keshi pearls are one-of-a-kind and highly sought-after pearls that are formed accidentally during the culturing process. Unlike traditional pearls, which are cultivated by intentionally inserting a nucleus into an oyster or mussel, Keshi pearls are formed as a byproduct of the culturing process when the implanted nucleus is rejected or expelled by the mollusk.

Keshi pearls are also known as "poppy-seed" pearls, which is the meaning of the Japanese word Keshi. Keshi pearls result from saltwater or freshwater pearls, most of which come from saltwater sources.

At The Bead Traders, we hold the highest quality fresh-water Keshi pearls that are unique and well-priced. We deliver only the most exquisite pearls with unmatched attention to detail and ethically sourced products.

The Bead Traders: Exquisite Pearls for Exquisite Designs

Pearls are a timeless classic that still continues to stun and amaze us. They give the wearer the confidence they need to move forward to grace, passion, and love. You must consider the best cut, shape, quality, color, and texture when selecting your pearls

At The Bead Traders, we offer a wide selection of high-quality pearls worldwide, allowing you to create exquisite jewelry pieces that stand the test of time. We only offer the best pearls that are suitable for all ranges of collections so that you can be on-time, on-trend, and on-brand.  Explore our collection today and elevate your jewelry designs with the timeless beauty of pearls.

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