Tahitian Pearls - 3 Things You MUST Know

These exotic "black pearls" are the stuff of legend.

Just the mention of black Tahitian pearls, conjures up thoughts of deep tropical waters, swaying palm trees and good men gone mad in search of them.

Below are three quick facts I think everybody should know before making the decision to purchase Tahitian Pearls.

Buy Tahitian pearls

buy tahitian pearls

#1 - Tahitian pearls are not grown in Tahiti.

Tahiti is the main island hub of French Polynesia, but Tahiti itself does not actually produce pearls.

Tahitian pearls are grown in French Polynesia, a group of 5 island archipelagos that covers the size the Europe!

Yet only has a land surface of around 1500 square miles.

The two archipelagos responsible for most of the pearl production are the Tuamotu Archipelago and Gambier Islands.

tahitian pearl farming areas

*I should also note that Tahitian pearls don't come from Hawaii either, regardless what that sales clerk told you.

#2 - "Black" Tahitian pearls aren't actually black

When discussing the color of Tahitian pearls(or pearls in general) the term "black" is used to describe pearls with dark body colors.

It could be blue, purple, green, brown, silver -- but never a true black.

In addition to the body color, Tahitian pearls can display an amazing range of overtones(especially the circle and baroque shapes).

Traditionally the most sought after(expensive) Tahitian pearls will have a dark green body color and peacock(think oil slick) overtones.

Pearls that look something like this:

peacock tahitian

That said, in the last few years we've really seen an increased appreciation for the full range of colors possible

This multi-color strand shows how different the colors can be:

multi-color tahitians

*It's important to note that Tahitian pearls are the only naturally "black" pearls. Black Akoya and black freshwater pearls are dyed.

#3 Tahitian pearls come in many shapes (and that's a good thing!)

Tahitian pearls are bead nucleated.

Which means the pearl farmer will very skillfully insert a round shell bead inside the oyster.

With the hope that the oyster will produce a round pearl.

The bead DOES increase the chance of a round pearl, but mother nature is still in charge of this operation.

And in fact less than 10% of harvested pearls will be round.

The shapes will normally fill into 4 categories:
  • round
  • near round
  • baroque
  • circle (a type of baroque pearl)
shapes of tahitian pearls

Why you want to consider baroque pearls....

In a word - COLOR!

The shape of baroque pearls allow for light to reflect from many different angles, making overtones really pop.

The most colorful strands are always the baroque and circle shaped pearls.

Baroque Tahitian Pearls:

baroque Tahitian pearl necklace

"Circle" Tahitian Pearls:

circle tahitian pearls

If you found this info helpful... Leave a comment below.

If you'd like something more in-depth, here's a great article written for retailers on Selling Tahitian Pearls. But the info is just as valuable for the consumer.

Buy Tahitian pearls

buy tahitian pearls

5 Responses

Shawn Matheson
Shawn Matheson

December 06, 2019

I am searching for the answer to this question about Tehitian pearls and can not find it anywhere. Are Tehitian pearls sold in both natural AND cultured forms? I am only finding cultured versions an i can find no information that speaks to the natural vs cultured aspect.

Jessica malabuyoc
Jessica malabuyoc

November 02, 2019

Thank you for all the information! You guys have explained it very clearly about these beautiful classy gem ❤️


October 17, 2019

This wealth of information in detail is truly appreciated.

A Dutta
A Dutta

September 15, 2019

Thanks for the information – very interesting! I also read the article on South Sea pearls. Not sure when I will buy but maybe for Christmas? At any rate I love being better informed regardless of whether I purchase the item or not – so thanks again.

Donald Lanigan
Donald Lanigan

July 24, 2019

hello I’m trying to find out how heavy are black pearls`& how to make sure what I’m buying ?

thank you
Donald Lanigan

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