The classic and original cultured pearl, the Akoya pearl is most popular for its small size, perfectly round shapes and vibrant, highly reflective luster either white or cream in body colour and shimmering with rose, green, blue, silver or ivory overtones. They are cultured pearls from saltwater mollusks from Japan and China. Any time you see a traditional single stranded pearl necklace, it will most likely be strung with Akoya cultured pearls. Akoya pearls may have tendencies to have a surprisingly similar appearance to freshwater pearls however they are very different when the two are closely compared next to each other. The Akoya pearl is generally larger, smoother, rounder and more lustrous than a freshwater pearl.
The Akoya oyster is the smallest of the pearl-producers. Typically Akoya pearls range from 2mm to 11mm with the 10 and 11mm sizes being a rarity and the average sizes ranging from 6.0mm-8.5mm. The Akoya’s quality excels in matching and most of them ranking as "excellent" in the grading. That's why many Akoya pearls are sold as strands. The reason the pearls can be so easily matched is that most of them are round or near-round however they still produce baroques, semi-baroques. Akoyas become more valuable as they increase in size. Some Akoya pearls achieve a black body colour through a process called irradiation. It typically has an excellent, good or fair luster.