The marine culture process was first developed around 100 years ago in Japan. The original Japanese cultured pearls, known as Akoya Pearls, are produced by a species of small oyster.
Pinctada fucata is the pearl oyster which is used in Japan. Cultivation of Akoya Pearls takes 10 to 18 months from the time they are nucleated. The akoya oyster creates pearls from 3 to 10mm diameter. Akoya Pearl cultivation is most difficult and costly because of the low survival rates of their host oyster.Nowadays Akoya Pearls are also produced in China and Vietnam. Japan still maintains its status as the main pearl processing center.