South Sea cultured pearls are the most precious cultured pearls. Because of their size and the hardness of their nacre, they are often known as “the Queen of pearls”.
They are typically between seven and 20 millimetres in diameter; examples which are larger than this are extremely rare.
The main areas of production are in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, along the coasts of Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Their colour ranges from white, silver and pink, to cream and gold tones.
The South Sea pearl oyster, Pinctada maxima, can reach up to five kilograms in weight, and produces a nacre layer of between one and 1.5 millimetres in thickness each year. Cultivation of a pearl takes between 18 months and three years.