After they are harvested, the south sea pearl is sorted much like the Akoya Pearls is sorted. Different colors, size, shape, surface quality and luster are taken into account when sorting. The colors of these beautiful pearls come in a range from white to yellowish orange. Although usually about 90% of the production is white, cream, and silver. The majority of Australian pearl farmers do not further process or treat their crop in any way. They are simply washed, sorted, graded and then exported. After export, however, the pearls could go through additional processing for pearl jewelry.
Any additional enhancements are done by retailers/wholesalers. These enhancements could range from some simple polishing, to color treating/dyeing the pearls. Please see our Pearl Treatments section in our encyclopedia to learn more about color treatments.