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An Overview of Baby South Sea Pearls
05-10-2006, 08:21 PM

It is true, the term Baby South Sea Pearls is not an official term that you would find in the Gemological Institute coursework on cultured pearls. Nor would you find this description in any dictionary or encyclopedia. However, as a second generation pearl dealer (my father Charlie Bakhash founded American Pearl) I started to hear this term used among the farmers who offered their South Sea Pearls for sale to our company. What are they? Simply stated, they are just smaller South Sea pearls. You see, the vast majority of pearls cultured in the South Seas are larger than 8mm or 9mm; a somewhat average size for Japanese Akoya Cultured Pearls.

In addition, the Pinctada Maxima oyster that produces South Sea pearls is many times larger than the Akoya Oyster that produces Japanese Akoya Cultured Pearls. As you can imagine, pearl farmers command more money for larger pearls at auction. In essence, they make more money. One cannote help but determine that a farmer would be much happier to have larger pearls than smaller pearls. As such, one would assume that the farmer might try to culture their pearls in their oysters as long as possible. Knowing that the Pinctada Maxima oyster can produce pearls up to 20mm in size (that are round) and even larger for baroque cultured pearls, the supply of smaller sized 8mm and 9mm pearls in south seas are somewhat unusual. In fact, for years and years of beeing in the business, I never saw a sizeable quantity of smaller sized south sea pearls. Suddenly, several years ago, I started to see many of them appear in the marketplace.

All of us pearl dealers were somwhat surprised to see so many smaller sized South Sea Pearls. Perhaps this was due to an increase in production from Indonesia. Either way, the term "Baby South Sea Pearls" was born.

Is it an official term? No. However, it is a nice way to describe the smaller pearls in a family of larger pearls.

If you see this term show up on our website, now you know why.

Eddie Bakhash

Last edited by pearleducation; 05-10-2006 at 08:23 PM.
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