Akoya is parts of a genus of sea snails, or marine mollusks in the family of Calliostomatidae within the Trochoidea super family, these are the allied and turban snails.
Currently cultured pearls on the market can usually be divided into two categories. The 1st class covers pearls that are beaded and cultured such as Akoya, Tahiti, and South Sea. These are the pearls that are gonad grown and usually one pearl is grown at a time. This limits the number of ready pearls at harvest period. The pearls usually are harvested after one year for Akoya, 2 to 4 years of Tahitian and South Sea, and 2 to 7 years for freshwater pearls.
This Perliculture process was created first by William Saville-Kent a British biologist who then passed the technique along toTokichi Nishikawa and Tatsuhei Mise of Japan.
The second category includes the non-beaded freshwater cultured pearls such as the Chinese or Biwa pearls. They grow in the mantle; with as many as 25 grafts can be implanted on each wing. These pearls are much more frequently saturate the market. A development that have developed better quality has been developed in the last 2 decades, when the rice grain-shaped pebbles are compared with the near pearls that are up to 15 mm in diameter have been produced with a lustre like metallic.
In 2010, China took over the Akoya pearl production from Japan production. Japan has all but stopped producing Akoya pearls that are smaller than around 8 mm. Japan does remain its standing as a processing center for pearl, and still imports the most of the Chinese Akoya production of pearls. These are pearls that are processed (matched and sorted) re-labeled as product of Japan, and then exported
In the past 20 years, cultured pearls have been produced using the largest oysters in the Indian Ocean and southern Pacific. The largest pearl oysters are the “Pinctada maxima” which is about the size of a dinner plate. Pearls from the South Sea are categorized by their warm lustre and large size. Sizes going up to 14mm in diameter are common. Pearls from the South Sea are produced primarily in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines.