South Sea Pearl

All About South Sea Pearls

South Sea Pearls are an incredibly popular jewel in Australia and for very good reason; The majority of white South Sea pearls are cultured along the northwest coast of Australia. They’ve been a local delicacy since the 1950s – both collected in the wild and mixed in with hatchery stock.


It turns out that they make for fantastic jewellery, which is why we’ve written this article. We’re going to answer any questions you have, so you’ll be one step closer to your own jewellery with south sea pearls.

What are pearls?

Pearls are a composite of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form that are produced in the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk. South Sea Pearls are a specific type of pearl farmed from a type of oyster shell known as the Pinctada Maxima. 


They are typically known for being white orbs, but they come in a variety of other colours (e.g. pink, silver, cream, brown, green, blue, black, yellow, orange, red, gold, purple and iridescent) and shapes as well.

Are south sea pearls considered to be a precious gem?

South Sea Pearls are generally considered to have the highest value of all pearl types. This is for a variety of reasons, including;

  • The 3-4 year time period that the Pinctada Maxima must age before the pearl can be seeded
  • The 2-3 year time period in which the pearl grows to its full size (8-22mm)
  • Their scarcity, as each oyster can only produce a single pearl
  • The surgical precision needed to to seed the pearl from the oyster


Pearls are a unique gem because they are grown in a living creature, unlike diamonds and sapphires, pearls and whatnot that are mined from natural deposits. There is a high demand for pearl jewellery, and the word pearl itself has become synonymous with rarity, fineness, admirability and value.

How can you tell a good quality south sea pearl?

You can tell a good quality south sea pearl the way you would any other pearl. These qualities include: 

  • A distinct lustre, unique to pearl, like a reflection but coming from within the surface layers of the pearl
  • Tiny irregularities that differentiate it from another pearl (as no two pearls are produced the same)
  • A translucent overtone (such as a hint of pink or green)
  • A slightly rough, gritty organic texture
  • A sense of weightiness (unlike glass or plastic)


Pearls are not as resilient as other gemstones, ranking a 2.5-4.5 on Mohs scale of hardness, a scale developed by German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs in 1812.

Do south sea pearls fade?

Like other kinds of pearl, south sea pearls require more care than their less organic gemstone counterparts. While a south sea pearl won’t fade on its own, they can lose their colour and turn a slight shade of yellow if they have been stored away for a long time in a dry environment where there is no moisture or air circulation.

Can you wear precious gemstones with south sea pearls?

Because pearls come in a variety of colours and styles, south sea pearls work perfectly with gems such as sapphire, diamonds or garnets; with a pearl either helping to create a warm palette with their colour, or to further emphasise their colourful counterparts with their neutral shade of pearl white.

How much will south sea pearl jewellery cost me?

Jewellery with south sea pearls will vary in price, given that south sea pearls are such a rare form of pearl. The price range for our south sea pearl jewellery range from $950 to $25,000. We only source superior quality pearls, so you won’t have a problem finding the perfect south sea pearl jewellery for you, whether it’s an earring, necklace or anything in between.

How do you clean a south sea pearl?

The best way to get a south sea pearl cleaned is to take it to an experienced jeweller who can inspect and clean it for you (it is recommended you do this at least twice a year in order to keep it in top condition). The second best way to clean a pearl is to use warm water with a combination of mild unscented soap and a very soft dry cloth to avoid damaging the surface of the pearl.

Where can I find high quality south sea pearls?

As we’ve said before, south sea pearls are pretty rare, which means that expert guidance is needed to ensure you buy something of good value and quality. So, contact us so we can help you find the perfect south sea pearl. 

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