Unquestionably beautiful and true natural wonders, Pearls are one of the world’s oldest and most enduring gemstones. Noted for their exceptional quality, Bali South Sea Pearls are ethically and environmentally farmed in the tropical waters of Bali, Flores, Alor and West Papua.
Hardness 2.5 - 4.5
Refractive Index 1.530 - 1.685
Relative Density 2.66 - 2.76
Extremely beautiful and rare, Bali South Sea Pearls are the only white pink/silver Pearls produced in South East Asia, where the dominant hues are cream, yellow, and a limited number of golden. It takes two oysters to produce a Bali South Sea Pearl (one for color, the other to nurture the growing Pearl), and an extremely skilled technician to perform the delicate procedure necessary to initiate a Pearl.
All Pearls are graded according to five virtues: color, luster, shape, size, and surface appearance. Rare white and silver round Pearls, displaying a good luster and appearance, remain the most valuable and the traditional favorite. Expertly graded, Bali South Sea Pearls typically range in size from 8-16mm. However, no two Pearls are truly identical, making every one individually beautiful and unique. Pearls also have the ability to reflect a person’s individual complexion, creating a uniquely beautiful compatibility with the wearer.
The progeny of oysters, mussels and clams (or collectively, mollusks), Pearls are the only truly sustainable gem and are created by a living organism, continuing to grow for as long as they are retained within the oyster. A birthstone for June, Pearl is derived from the Latin ‘perna’ (ham), in reference to the shape of some mussels. Pearls are created when a foreign body entering the mollusk is coated with ‘nacre’ (calcium carbonate), from the Arabic ‘naqqarah’ (shell). While rudimentary Pearl farming had been practiced in China as early as the 5th century, Kokichi Mikimoto started the world’s first commercial farm in in 1908. When farmed, Pearls are propagated by ‘nucleation’, which involves introducing a nucleus into the mollusk triggering the formation of a Pearl. After they’ve been seeded, the mollusks go back into the water to grow. The depth of the nacre has a big impact on a Pearl’s value and depends on the rate of nacre accumulation, which in turn is determined by environmental conditions and species. South Sea Pearls are from the Pinctada maxima oyster, which is only found in tropical waters from northern Australia to the southern tip of China, and can only be commercially farmed in Australia, Burma, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Reaching a size of 30 centimeters and weighing several kilograms, Pinctada maxima is noted for producing cream, golden, silver, white, and yellow Pearls. The Pearls typically grow for two to six years and while the oyster can only accept one nucleus at a time, they can be nucleated several times and even returned to nature to lend their genes to future generations. South Sea Pearls are the largest Pearls and can reach 20 millimeters.
Bali South Sea Pearls are from Pinctada maxima, the rarest and largest Pearl oyster, aptly called ‘Queen of Pearl Oysters’. The extreme rarity of wild Pinctada maxima saw a dramatic decline in natural stocks from the start of the 20th century. Today, the majority of Pearl farms rely on domesticated stock bred in sophisticated hatcheries. Even though they are farmed, Pearls remain a coveted natural product, and as with all gemstones, perfection is rare. Globally, only half the Pearls harvested are marketable and less than five percent are top-quality, perfectly round Pearls. Considered a barometer of the ocean’s health, Pinctada maxima is extremely sensitive and requires pristine marine conditions to survive and thrive.
Farmed in the Indonesian archipelago, Bali South Sea Pearls is a global leader in Eco-Pearling; Environmental Custodian of the Ocean (ECO) involves operating harmoniously both with nature and local communities. A major employer in some of South East Asia’s most remote regions, the farms source 90 percent of their employees from local communities, providing training programs in both technical and managerial roles. For example, the critical task of seeding Pearls is done entirely by women promoting a better sense of gender equality. The farms support school programs, including scholarships, infrastructure support, literacy, and environmental education projects, as well as actively engaging in marine preservation projects. For example, mature Pearl oysters (4 years+) are released to bolster very low wild populations.
While a single female can produce 60 million eggs and the hatchery will see more than a billion eggs released per season, only a handful survive to produce Pearls and only a very few are gem-grade. Bali South Sea Pearls also grow in tropical seas exposed to extreme weather conditions; farms are always at risk of losing their carefully nurtured oysters to violent weather.
Since the 30s, Pearls have constituted only 5 percent of all jewelry. By far the most valuable, South Sea Pearls make up only 10 percent of all Pearl production by volume. Bali South Sea Pearls have an attractive color and excellent luster the moment they are taken from their mother oyster. Fine quality Pearls that require no enhancement or treatment are exceedingly rare and highly prized.
Durability & Care
Possessing a good toughness for everyday jewelry, Bali South Sea Pearls (Mohs’ Hardness: 2.5 – 4.5) should be stored carefully to avoid scuffs and scratches. Clean Bali South Pearls by wiping them with a moist cloth.