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What are Japanese Akoya Keshi? They Might not be what you think? Part 2

Japanese Akoya Saltwater Keshi Pearls Part 2

Japanese Akoya Saltwater Keshi Pearls

Pearls have been found in jewelry dating back to at 100 BC and long beyond. The American Museum of  Natural History has an interesting site regarding the history of pearls at    The largest pearl known was found in the Philippines in 1934 in a giant clam. The pearl weighs 14 lb and was discovered by an anonymous Filipino Muslim diver off the island of Palawan. According to the legend, a Palawan chieftain gave the pearl to Wilbur Dowell Cobb in 1936 because he had saved his sons' life. The pearl had been named the "Pearl of Allah" by the Muslim tribal chief, because it resembled a turbaned head and now officially named the Pearl of Lao-tze. It is estimated to be valued at 40 million dollars. Contrast this to a Keshi pearl which can be as small as 0.5 or 0.6 mm with a hole size of  0.2 or 0.3 mm for stringing.

India and many Middle Eastern countries have a long history with pearls. More than 500 years ago, Keshi pearls were very popular among the Maharajahs of India and with the princesses of the Arabian kingdoms. Found in their surrounding seas, these “gifts of the mermaids,” as they were known, were worn with pride and associated with royalty. Before Kokichi Mikimoto made a name for himself in the culturing process in the early 1900s, natural pearls were rare and expensive and were only affordable by the rich and famous. Mikimoto changed the industry. His remarkable efforts in marketing cultured pearls have created an industry where there was previously none and made pearls easily available to all. Indian merchants sourced Keshi pearls in Japan, and since then, have been importing these pearls from the Orient. So started the history of Japanese Akoya Keshi, which are a byproduct of the culturing process. Over the last 40 years, Japan has slowly become the biggest buyer of Keshi pearls. As more people discover them, the demand worldwide is continually increasing for this unique gift of the mermaids. 📷Because of the culturing process, the natural pearl lovers of India & the Middle East do not consider cultured as ‘real’ pearls. Japanese Akoya saltwater Keshi are the closest to a natural seawater pearl that one can obtain. Natural pearl strands can demand hundreds of thousands of dollars, while Chinese cultured freshwater strands can start from a few dollars. Japanese Akoya Keshi can range from $45 a strand up to a few thousand for a perfectly round matched strand of 5 mm pearls.  

End of part 2

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