The Golden Age of Pearls and Wine

THESE are the good old days. More wines, in greater variety, are made available to us today
than at any other time in history. This Golden Age of Wine, as it has been called, presents us with an array of wines that is hard to absorb let alone enjoy. So it is with Pearls. This is the golden age of Pearls. Pearls are available in more varieties today than at any time in history.

Grapes are successfully grown and the best wines are made in the relatively narrow temperate climate bands of the world. These bands, extending from 50° north to 30° north above the equator and 30° south to 50° south below the equator, provide in various areas within them, locations with the right combination of sunshine, rain, temperature, and exposure.Wines that are grown in the same region, whether it be in California or France do not all have the same characteristics. This can be caused by different soil composition, more or less exposure to the sun, or to a particular microclimate. And wines using the same grapes do not always taste the same.

This same principal applies to cultured pearls. Over the years we have seen how pollution and excess oyster population have affected pearls grown in the same regions of Japan. The part of the region less affected by the pollution and having fewer nucleated oysters in the water will produce better pearls.

Pearls grown in Tahiti and pearls grown in the Red Sea use the same oyster, Pinctada margaritifera. Yet, the pearls in Tahiti tend to a darker blacker color while those in the Red Sea tend to a whitish color.

Pearls grown in the Philippines using the Pinctada Maxima can be either whitish gray in color or creamy golden in color.

Akoya Cultured Pearls from Japanese waters have subtle differences from Chinese Cultured Pearls. While Australian pearls are mainly white.

Grapes used to produce a Chardonnay will not produce a Pinot Noir. The same principal applies to cultured pearls.

The smaller salt water oysters, Pinctada Fucata Martensi, used to produce Japanese Akoya pearls cannot be used to produce larger white South Sea pearls. Their larger cousin, Pinctada Maxima are used.

And, as is the case in both wine and cultured pearls, the end products are not always equal. The same grapes used to produce wine in one area will not produce as tasty a wine in another area.

Understanding that different growers, regions and climates produce different results so it is true with pearls.