White lipped pearls
White lipped pearls are formed by white lipped oysters, and its scientific name is Pinctada maxima. As the scientific name maxima suggests, white lipped oysters are by far the largest of the pearl oysters, with a shell diameter of about 30 cm and weighing 4.5 to 5.5 kg. When the oyster is opened, shells look like a large butterfly spreading its wings, and the beautiful silvery white pearl nacre inside the shell also makes this oyster truly the “the king of pearl oyster”.1
Gold Lipped oysters and Silver Lipped oysters
White lipped pearl oysters are classified into two types: “gold lipped oysters”, with the gold coloring along the margins of the interior of the shell, and “silver lipped oysters “, with the silver coloring along the margins.
*Gold lipped oysters
*Silver lipped oysters
The “gold-lipped oyster” produces shades of yellow, champagne, gold and other warm-based hues and silver-lipped oysters typically produce the whites and silver White lipped pearls.
*Golden White lipped pearls
*White White lipped pearls
The main producing areas of White lipped pearls are Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar and Japan in Okinawa and Amami Oshima, etc.. In Australia, silver lipped oysters are mainly cultivated, and white and silver White lipped pearls are formed. In Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar mainly cultivate gold lipped oysters that produce yellow, champagne and gold White lipped pearls. White lipped pearls from Myanmar are especially famous for their nacre thickness and color depth.
White lipped pearl Sizes
The size of White lipped pearl is typically about 8 to 20 mm in diameter, and the pearl size correlates with the size of the mother oyster.
Another size effecting factor other than the size of the mother oyster, is that the nacre layer of White lipped pearl is thicker than Akoya pearls and black lipped pearls.
<Thickness of One Layer of Nacre>
Akoya Pearl: 0.2 ㎛ – 0.4 ㎛ (micrometers)
White lipped pearl: 0.4㎛ to 0.6 ㎛
For example, even in the case that Akoya pearl oysters and White lipped pearl oysters are cultured under water for the same period of time, (even if the same number of nacre layers are formed), the entire nacre layer is thicker for White lipped pearls than Akoya pearls, resulting the size of the White lipped pearl to be bigger.
Other factor that makes White lipped pearls grow large is the long length of cultivation period. In Myanmar, White lipped pearls remain under water for three years.
<Main production areas with pearl sizes and cultivation period>
Australia: Size 13-14mmup cultivation period about 2 years
Indonesia: Size 9-10mmup cultivation period about 1 year
Philippines: Size 11-12mmup (6-7mm) Cultivation period about 1.5 years
Myanmar: Size about 12-13mm Cultivation period about 3 years
Japan (Okinawa / Amami Oshima): Size 9 -10mm Cultivation period about 3 years
Colors of White lipped pearls
There are many colors of White lipped pearls white to gold and everything in between.
The white White lipped pearls have a unique transparency that is different from the white Akoya pearls. White lipped pearls have gray or blue interference color and white Akoya pearls has warm interference color. The white White lipped pearls contains cool interference color compared to other pearls. Since most white White lipped pearls are larger than 10mm in size, if you are looking for a white pearl that is larger than 10mm, we recommend white White lipped pearls.
*From left, naturally colored white White lipped pearls (16mm &13mm), cream Akoya pearl, Pink Akoya pearl
Yellow, champagne and gold White lipped pearls come in multiple colors from pale yellow to vivid gold, but most White lipped pearls harvested has pale color, such as cream or pale yellow. White lipped pearls with deep golden hue are rare and have a very high trading value. The highest quality White lipped pearls are deep golden with green and orange overtones.
* White lipped pearl with orange interference color
* White lipped pearl with green interference color
* “Color Symphony”, collection by Seibido Pearl with multiple colors of natural White lipped pearls
Golden White lipped pearls
Today, cultured pearls are human creations formed by inserting the epithelial cells of the mantle (collected from an additional oyster of the same species into the host oyster) and nucleus into a pearl oyster. By inserting the mantle cut from the specific area, colors of cultivated pearls are somewhat controllable (For instance, black lipped pearls with red or green interference color can be harvested under human control).
The mantle that produces a deep gold pearls inside of South Sea oysters must be cut from an incredibly narrow area, and the lobe must be cut from the exact desirable area, not even off a few microns, for the host oyster to grow a deep gold color White lipped pearl. Some White lipped pearl farmers have worked with continuous effort to produce a fairly stable amount of gold colored White lipped pearls.
Seibido Pearl pursues the beauty of naturally formed golden color pearls, and handles only gold colored White lipped pearls that meet the strict standards of Seibido Pearl as the brand “SEIBIDO GOLDEN” . Less than 0.1% of pearls qualify as our SEIBIDO GOLDEN pearls out of White lipped pearl harvest.. Enjoy the pearls with quality of the highest degree of selection.
 『真珠』 白井祥平著 海洋企画