Where are Pearls Found?

The answer to the question: "Where are pearls found?" may surprise you.

Click on photo to see read more about this mussel.

Pearls can be found in the most unlikely places.

Last November I attended the Pearls Exhibition in Tokyo. On one large wall, as part of the exhibition were several types of "shell" creatures mounted and their side was the pearl they produced.

You can imagine my shock when I saw a common sand snail with a "pearl" it had created inside of it.

But, just because all sorts of "shell" creatures can produce something like a pearl, doesn't mean they all have value or worth. Some are more accurately called calcareous concretions.

When considering pearls of value and worth, here is a list of countries and regions that answers the question: "Where are pearls found?"

This is from the GIA education department.

So...where are pearls found? Many, many places...however, this is not a comprehensive list for the places where natural pearls have been found or are still being found today.

Historical records, for example, site several places in the USA alone where natural pearls have been discovered.

These blue mussel pearls were found in Norway.

Find Australian pearling history here.

Scotland is another place where many natural pearls have been found.

In the 1930's Venezuela was a popular place to find pearls.

October, 2007, US Jewelers are urging a ban on Burmese gems.

Where are Pearls Found? Natural ones, that is. An excellent overview.

Information on species and countries where natural pearls are found.

Australia Where are pearls found?

Country/Area/Body of Water Mollusk
New South Wales Pinctada maxima (White-lipped oyster, gold-lipped oyster)
Northern Territory Pinctada maxima
Queensland--Cairns Pinctada maxima
Queensland--Cooktown Pinctada maxima
Queesland--Thursday Island Pinctada maxima
Torres Strait Pinctada maxima
Western Australia--Broome Pinctada maxima
Western Australia--Burrup Peninsula Pinctada maxima
Western Australia--Cygnet Bay, Deep Water Point, Talbot Bay, Willie Creek Pinctada maxima
Western Australia--Exmouth Gulf, King Sound, Kuri Bay, Montebello Island, Pender Bay, Roebuck Bay Pinctada maxima
Western Australia--Shark Bay Pinctada albino (Arafur pearl oyster)

Canada Where are pearls found?

British Columbia--Faumfield Marine Station, Burnaby Abalone: Haliotis kamtschatkana (Pinto abalone)


Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei Cristaria plicata (River shell, wrinkle shell), Hyriopsis cumingi (Triangle shell)
Guangdong--Chenghai, Nan Ao, Shantou Hyriopsis cumingi
Guangxi Hyriopsis cumingi, Hyriopsis schlegi
Jiangsu--Changzhou Hyriopsis sumingi
Jiangsu--Lake Taihu and nearby ponds Hyriopsis cumingi
Zhejiang--Shaoxing, Zhuji Hyriopsis cumingi, Hyriopsis schlegi (Biwa perly mussel)


Guangdong--Chenghai Pinctada fucata (Chinese Akoya oyster)
Guangdong--Hainan Island Pinctada fucata
Guangxi--Beihai Pinctada fucata
Guangxi--Hepu Pinctada fucata

Cook Islands

Cook Islands Pinctada maculata (Maculated pearl oyster)
Cook Islands Pinctada margaritfera, var. cumingi (Black-lipped oyster
Cook Islands Pinctada maxima

French Polynesia Where are pearls found?

Anuanuraro Pinctada margaritifera, var. cumingi
Gambier Islands--Mangareva Pinctada margaritifera, var. cumingi
Tuamotu Archipelago--Ahe Pinctada margaritifera, var. cumingi
Tuamotu Archipelago--Aratika Pinctada margaritifera, var. cumingi
Tuamotu Archipelago--Apataki, Arutua, Faaite, Fakarawa, Kauehi, Makemo, Nego Nego, Rangiroa Pinctada margaritifera, var. cumingi
Tuamotu Archipelago--Hikueru, Takapoto, Takaroa, Takume Pinctada margaritifera, var. cumingi
Tuamotu Archipelago--Kaukura, South Marutea Pinctada margaritifera, var. cumingi
Tuamotu Archipelago--Manihia Pinctada margaritifera, var. cumingi

Indonesia Where are pearls found?

Flores Pinctada maxima
Irian Jaya--Sorong, Wageo Pinctada maxima
Maluku--Aru, Ceram Pinctada maxima
Maluku--Bacan, Dobo, Halmahera, Tanimbar, Tual Pinctada maxima
Nusa Tenggara Barat--Gili Air Pinctada maxima
Sulawasi--Banggai, Togian Pinctada maxima
Sumatra--Lampung Pinctada maxima
Sumbawa Pinctada maxima
Timor--Kupang Pinctada maxima


Lake Biwa Hyriopsis schlegeli
Lake Kasumiga Hyriopsis cumingi--Hyriopsis schlegeli hybrid

Video of Japanese Pearl Processes


(Area not specified) Abalone: Haliotis
Ehime--Uwajima Pinctada fucata martensii
Kagoshima; Kumamoto Pinctada fucata martensii
Mie--Ago, Kashikojima, Toba Pinctada fucata martensii
Mie--Ise Pinctada fucata martensii
Nagasaki--Goto Shisushima Pinctada fucata martensii
Nansei Shoto--Amamioshima, Ishigakishima, Okinawa Pinctada margaritifera
Nansei Shoto--Amamioshima Pinctada maxima

Mexico Where are pearls found?

Baja California Pteria sterna (Western winged pearl oyster)
Baja California--La Paz Pinctada mazatlanica (Panamanian pearl oyster)
Guyamas Pinctada mazatlanica


Myanmar Pinctada maxima

New Zealand Where are pearls found?

Stewart Island Abalone: Haliotis Iris (Paua, iris, or rainbow abalone)

North America

Pacific Coast Abalone: Haliotis rufescens (Red abalone), H. fulgens (Green abalone)

Philippines Where are pearls found?

Mindanao--Davao, Zamboanga Pinctada maxima
Palawan: Surigao Strait Pinctada maxima
Visayan Islands--Bohl, Cebu, Panay Pinctada maxima

South Africa

South Africa Abalone: Haliotis

United States--Freshwater

Tennessee--Kentucky Lake, Tennessee River Megalonaias Nervosa
Texas--San Angelo Megalonaias Nervosa

United States--Saltwater

Hawaii Pinctada margaritifera


Ho Tay Cristaria plicata


Vietnam Pinctada fucata

Where are Calcareous Concretions Found?

Bahamas Strombus gigas
Bermuda Stromus gigas
China--South China Sea Melo Melo (Melo "pearl" or Indian volute)
Cuba Strombus gigas
India Melo Melo
Indonesia Melo Melo
Malaysia Melo Melo
Myanmar Melo Melo
United States Strombus gigas
Vietnam--Halong Bay Melo Melo

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