What Happens to Akoya Pearls After Harvesting?

When pearl processors acquire a harvest from their supply pearl farms, they take a few necessary steps to ensure that each piece of pearl jewelry is as closely matched as possible. They must visualize the creation of the jewelry itself, and that includes drilling and temporary stringing on hanks.

When the processors acquire a shipment of Akoya Pearls, they must sort them based on size, color, luster and surface quality. There can be thousands of Akoya pearls per shipment, and therefore the sorters develop a unique skill of their own. Their eyes must be keen and they must know at a glance the difference between AAA, AA+, AA, A, B and C quality pearls. Pearls that are heavily spotted or that have extremely thin nacre are disposed of.

The pearls are then separated according to use. They decide which are to be used for necklaces, earrings, pendants, or brooches. And in some cases, the pearls are left un-drilled to be sold as loose pearls.

Akoya pearls must be polished through the method of tumbling and buffing. These procedures polish and clean some of the surface imperfections. The result is better looking pearl jewelry.