There are two types of the South Sea pearl oysters, both of the species Pinctada maxima; the
silver-lipped and the gold-lipped. The silver-lipped pearl oyster creates pearls in the shades of
cream coloured, white, silver white and rose white whereas the pearls from the gold-lipped pearl
oyster have the shades of cream-coloured, yellow, and deep gold.
Besides the conventional factors like quality, size and shape, the value of the South Sea pearl is
also dependant on the colour. Most valuable are the fine white, the rose white, the silver white and
the deep gold coloured. Shapes can be baroque, semi-baroque or button shaped, beautiful drop
shaped or perfectly round.
The sizes are between 9-18mm, with unique pieces of 20mm and
above. Rare pearls of 30-40mm have equally been seen. The Pinctada maxima is the largest pearl
oyster in the world.