Large, satiny, colorful pearls come from the warm South Seas.
Pearl farmers, mainly in Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines, employ the gold-lipped and silver-lipped pinctada maxima oyster to create these gorgeous gems. Because Indonesian farmers use smaller hatchery-bred oysters, instead of collecting adults from the wild, their pearls tend toward the smaller end of production. These oysters are generally 12-15cm in size.
Each oyster is implanted with only one nucleus and left for one and a half to three years before harvesting. They can be implanted up to four times. Since these are the largest oyster used in pearl production, they yield the largest pearls measuring anywhere from 8 to 18mm in diameter with 10 to 15mm being the typical range. 25-40% of the yield is spherical.
Because of the size, price, and rarity, matched strands are extremely rare and costly. More often, these are used as solitaires in pendants and rings and come in a stunning range of colors.