Pearls are riding a wave with no end in sight.

“The pearl market has never been better,” says Peter Bazar of Imperial-Deltah Pearls, New York. “The quantities, quality, and variety of pearls used in so many different jewelry manipulations continue.”While the century-old traditional akoyas haven’t made a major comeback from their near extinction in the 1990s, they still hold the No. 1 slot for retail customers wanting a 6 to 8 mm perfectly round, white rosé, lustrous strand of cultured pearls. That said, Chinese freshwaters are fashionable and cover almost every corner of the market, from low end to high. They come in white as well as fashion colors, and range from perfect rounds to baroques. Production of South Seas pearls, including Australian whites, Indonesian golds, and Tahitian blacks, is increasing, as are sizes and shapes.AKOYASNot many dealers refer to their strands as “Japanese” akoyas any longer. Pollution of
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