Which pearls are the most expensive?
Answer Natural Pearls
Natural pearls are proven to be the most expensive type of pearl. The Baroda pearls, for example recently sold at auction for more than $7 million. But natural pearls like this are extremely rare and are primarily for collectors. Today, cultured pearls are what people see at jewelry stores around the world. Cultured Pearls
Cultured pearls are produced by implanting a mother-of-pearl bead and a piece of mantle tissue into the gonad of a host marine mollusk, or by grafting a piece of mantle tissue from a donor mussel into the mantle muscle of a host freshwater mussel. There Are Four Main Types Of Cultured Pearls
There are four varieties of cultured pearl commonly on the market today. These are; South Sea, Tahitian, akoya and freshwater. Other types exist, such as Cortez or Cultured abalone blister, but the aforementioned varieties make up the large majority of pearls available to the consumer. * South Sea Pearls: South Sea pearls are the most valuable type of cultured pearl on the market today. These pearls are grown in the Pinctada maxima (gold-lip and silver-lip pearl oyster) primarily in Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. They come in white, silver, cream and gold. They can grow very large- up to 20+ mm. * Tahitian Pearls: Tahitian pearls are the second most valuable variety of cultured pearl. They are grown in the Pinctada margaritifera (black-lip pearl oyster) in French Polynesia. This mollusk is also used in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Micronesia, the Marshalls and several others, but if grown outside of French Polynesia the pearls are referred to as black South Sea. * Akoya Pearls: Akoya pearls are the third most valuable variety of cultured pearl. Akoya pearls are grown in the Pinctada fucata martensii and Pinctada fucata chemnitzii varieties of mollusk, also known as the akoya pearl oyster. The primary areas of production are China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Australia. * Freshwater Pearls: The fourth and least valuable of all cultured pearls (on an average relative basis) are cultured freshwater pearls. Freshwater pearls have been cultured since the 1920s, starting in Lake Biwa, Japan. Today, freshwater perliculture is limited to China, and to a very small extent Lake Kasumigaura in Japan. Freshwater pearls are cultured primarily in the Hyriopsis cumingi (triangle shell), Hyriopsis schlegeli (Biwa pearly mussel), a hybrid of the two, and the Cristaria plicata (cockscomb) freshwater mussels.