Large round white South Seas pearls, most commonly from Australia, are getting bigger and better. Single pearls and strands of 18, 19, and 20 mm rounds with clean surfaces and excellent luster, while still rare, are becoming more available. We've even seen top-quality rounds of 22 mm. With short supply and steady demand, expect to pay top dollar for the best in big.The Philippines and Indonesia are producing top-quality golden South Seas round pearls in record numbers. These reach 15 and 16 mm. A decade ago, such pearls were too rare to consider for inventory. “Of course, you can always get lesser-quality merchandise, but anything in fine quality is difficult to get,” says Aziz Basalely, Eliko Pearl, New York. “Especially in large baroques.”As better cultivation techniques result in more large rounds, one consequence is fewer baroques, which are mistakes in the culturing process.

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