Many consumers shopping for "Akoya cultured pearls" are unknowingly getting pearls that originate from China, not Japan. When most consumers purchase "Akoya" pearls, they expect to get Japanese Akoya cultured pearls. Why do they expect Japanese Akoya you might ask? Because the most well known, highly respected sellers of cultured pearls in America (including Tiffany & Co. and Mikimoto) have been exclusively selling Japanese Akoya cultured pearls for over a century and calling them "Akoya".