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Treasures of the Sea: Amazing South Sea Pearls

South Sea pearls, born from the depths of the ocean within the Pinctada Maxima oyster, stand as some of the most coveted treasures of the sea. Unlike gems sourced from the earth, pearls are a testament to nature's artistry, crafted by a living being.
South Sea Pearl Necklace. M.S. Rau
South Sea Pearl Necklace. M.S. Rau

This necklace from M.S. Rau features South Sea pearls ranging from 13-15mm in size, displaying the impressive magnitute of the natural wonders.

These pearls, found off the coasts of Australia, the Philippines, Myanmar and Indonesia, are revered for their rarity and magnificence. Comprising a mere 2% of the world's pearl production, South Sea pearls are prized for their exquisite color, round shape, luminous luster, flawless surface and impressive size, often exceeding 12mm. They are the largest pearls found worldwide.

Whether adorning a classic strand or gracing a statement piece of jewelry, South Sea pearls elevate any ensemble with their ethereal beauty. From luminous whites to enchanting shades of gold and silver, South Sea pearls come in a kaleidoscope of colors to captivate the senses. Among these treasures, the highly coveted golden hue is considered the most valuable. Water temperature, plankton and sediments determine which color variety is more common in a given area.
Convertible Multi-Color South Sea Pearl Necklace. M.S. Rau
Convertible Multi-Color South Sea Pearl Necklace. M.S. Rau
This impressive necklace from M.S. Rau features an array of colors, displaying the versatility of the South Sea pearl.

It takes a minimum of two years for the large Pinctada maxima oyster to create a single South Sea pearl. Each pearl begins its life as a tiny bead of mother-of-pearl carefully implanted into the mollusk and is transformed into a radiant jewel of the ocean.

It is these mother-of-pearl implants that serve as the pearl's nucleus, accepting layer upon layer of the oyster's unmistakably vibrant nacre, the shimmering substance of which pearls are made. This process ultimately gives birth to the most desirable pearls in the world.
Golden South Sea Pearl Necklace. M.S. Rau
Golden South Sea Pearl Necklace. M.S. Rau
This stunning necklace from M.S. Rau displays the highly coveted golden hue.

As the oyster crafts each pearl, it imbues it with the unmistakable vibrancy and luminosity that characterize South Sea pearls. Renowned for their unparalleled size and breathtaking luster, these pearls stand as the epitome of oceanic opulence, coveted by connoisseurs and collectors alike.

While only 10-30% of harvested South Sea pearls showcase round or near-round shapes, the remaining pearls dazzle with distinctive baroque, drop or button shapes—a testament to their individuality and allure.
Baroque South Sea Pearl Necklace. M.S. Rau
Baroque South Sea Pearl Necklace. M.S. Rau

Since the cultivation period is long, obtaining pearls that are similar in size, color and quality is a time-consuming process.
This is why a South Sea pearl strand is not something you’ll come across often. South Sea pearls are the largest in size of any pearl variety, but they are scarce and therefore quite expensive.

Ranging between 9mm and 20mm, these pearls owe their extraordinary attributes to a harmonious interplay of natural factors.

Rose Luster South Sea Pearl Necklace, 17-20.6mm. M.S. Rau
 Rose Luster South Sea Pearl Necklace, 17-20.6mm. M.S. Rau

This necklace features South Sea pearls with a rare pink overtone.

The temperate waters of the South Seas serve as the nurturing cradle for the Pinctada maxima oyster, accelerating its metabolic rate and fostering an abundant production of nacre. Renowned for its thick layering, the nacre from mollusks in the South Seas exudes a peerless glow, seemingly emanating from within the jewel, elevating the pearl's rarity and desirability to unparalleled heights.

The grandeur of the Pinctada maxima itself, with dimensions reaching upwards of a foot in diameter, provides an expansive and unhindered environment for pearl development. Within the pristine waters of the South Seas, teeming with nutrient-rich plankton—the oyster's primary source of sustenance—the pearl cultivation process unfolds in a setting of unparalleled purity and abundance.

In essence, the contentment of the oyster mirrors the perfection of the pearls it produces. As nature's most impeccable artisans, South Sea pearls stand as a testament to the harmonious convergence of environment and evolution, yielding treasures of unrivaled magnificence, allure and durability. The more content the oyster, the more impeccable the pearls!

The journey of each pearl, from the depths of the ocean to the skilled hands of artisans who painstakingly select and craft each pearl, the process of creating South Sea Pearl jewelry is one of unparalleled dedication and patience.

Learn more about M.S. Rau Antiques' selection of South Sea antique pearls.


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