Akoya Pearls: Must-Have Gems for a New Generation

Akoya pearls are having a moment…or should we say a decade? Not since the 1940s, when Akoyas were first introduced to the American public, have these lustrous white gems been so universally loved, so fashion-forward. Over the past few years, it seems new generations of women, especially young women, have anointed Akoya pearls with rock-star status, or at the very least as star players in their fine jewelry wardrobes. Let’s take a closer look at what’s causing this phenomenon…and why Akoya pearls are most definitely here to stay.

Luster Like No Other

Elie Saab Fashions, Assael Gold and Akoya Pearl Rings & Earrings
Elie Saab Resort Wear (left) / Assael Gold & Pearl Rings & Earrings (right)

Akoya oysters, which grow in the waters off the coasts of Japan and China, produce the slickest-looking nacre, or outer coating, of any pearls in the world thanks to the cold saltwater in which they reside. Once called “the Cadillac of pearls” by insiders, Akoyas enjoy incomparable luster in the pearl world. Wearing them close to the face, in earrings and strands, casts an almost incandescent glow on the skin (something our mothers and grandmothers knew from experience). Simply put, Akoya pearls light up your face, your eyes, your smile; their creamy white radiance is universally flattering.

Runway and Red Carpet Influencers

Akoya in Chanel Styles - Sean Gilson for Assael Bubble Rings
Chanel RTW (left) / Assael Bubbles by Sean Gilson Akoya and South Sea Pearl Rings (right)

About three years ago, Akoya strands began popping up on runways and red carpets in multiples, mixed sizes, and paired with other pearl varieties and gemstones for looks that are anything but grandmotherly. It started ever-so-slowly, but soon top designers and stylists were fueling the Akoya pearl fire, and Instagram was fanning the flames. White pearls are now a huge trend at couture and ready-to-wear shows, where influential designers include pearl accents on clothes, shoes, and accessories. And of course Social Media has taken the Akoya pearl renaissance viral…portraying not only superstars and models dressed in pearls, but also women “on the street” we know and admire.

Big Akoya Pearls Are Big News

Akoya Aguaclara - Acoya 7-Strand Necklace
Layered looks are fresh like Assael’s “Sunset” 7 Row Pearl Necklace (right) and those featured in Aguaclara swimwear runway show (left)

New sizes of Akoya pearls are breathing new life into pearl jewelry design options. Back in the day, the 6-mm strand was a routine size. Today, bigger pearls (8mm and larger) have appeared on the market, as have some tinier (2mm) selections. All possess the same magnificent luster of their average-size counterparts, but the range permits more creative efforts…something we at Assael know well.

To see contemporary collections of Akoya pearls and pearl jewelry, perfect for holiday giving, please click here.