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Pearl Size

For quick reference:

1/4 inch = 6.35mm

1/3 inch = 8.46mm

1/2 inch = 12.7mm

1 inch = 25.4mm

Size of Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater pearls can grow up to about 11 or 12 mm in size. In common terms, while they can occasionally grow to almost half an inch in diameter, most freshwater pearls sold are between about a quarter of an inch and a third of an inch in size. Very tiny pearls are also seen.

Freshwater 6-7mm, 7-8mm, 8-9mm, 9-10mm, 10-11mm, 11-12mm

Size of Golden South Sea Pearls

Golden South Sea pearls are usually between 9mm and 20mm in size. The larger the size the harder to find very high quality pearls. The average size for South Sea pearls is about 13mm, which is just over half an inch in diameter.

Golden South Sea 9-10mm, 10-11mm, 11-12mm, 12-13mm

Size of Tahitian Pearls

Tahitian pearls are usually between 8mm and 16mm in size. That means they are larger than the classic small white pearls but don't grow quite as large as the huge South Sea pearls do. Think of pearls between one third of an inch and two thirds of an inch in diameter. They are distinguished by their natural dark color.

Tahitian 8-9mm, 9-10mm, 10-11mm, 11-12mm, 12-13mm, 13-14mm

Size of Akoya Pearls

Akoya pearls are small as they grow in a small size oyster. They can grow up to about 9mm or just over a third of an inch in size. The most popular sizes are around 7mm or 8mm. 6.0-6.5mm pearls (about a quarter of an inch) are often considered appropriate for very young or very slender ladies who like a dainty look. Slightly larger pearls tend to look better on a more mature woman who wants a more sophisticated look. If in doubt, most women would prefer the pearls a size larger rather than a size smaller. And yes, even a half a millimeter makes a difference.

Akoya 6.5-7.0mm, 7.0-7.5mm, 7.5-8.0mm, 8.0-8.5mm, 8.5-9.0mm

Size of White South Sea Pearls

White South Sea pearls grow in very large molluscs so can grow anywhere between 9mm (just over a third of an inch) and a whopping 20mm (over three quarters of an inch) in size. Prices go up steeply with size, as the largest ones are extremely rare.

White South Sea 10-11mm, 11-12mm, 12-13mm