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Black Pearl Buying Guide

Black Pearl Buyer's Guide

Black Pearl Buying Guide

For centuries the black pearl has captivated pearl collectors and treasure hunters alike. With its dark body color and mesmerizing overtones and iridescence, the black pearl is both enchanting and full of mystique.

Up until recently a strand of exotic black pearls could fetch $150,000+. Thankfully today consumers have several options if they wish to wear these mysterious gems.

Black Pearls – The Basics

Tahitian Oysters Shells on a Beach Dock


Black pearls are Tahitian pearls that come from the black-lipped Pinctada Margaritifera oyster. You can also find “black” Akoya or “black” Freshwater pearls, but they’re always dyed. Tahitian pearls are the only naturally black pearls.

Are Black Pearls Real?

Yes, Black pearls are real. Tahitian pearls are often called black pearls because of their natural, untreated, dark body colors.

Within the pearl industry, the term "black" is used to describe any pearl with a dark body color. In reality a natural, truly black body color just doesn't exist in the world of pearls. Instead, within the Tahitian pearls what we see are dark greens, blues, purples, silver, gray and the most coveted coloration "peacock".

Below is a small lot of very high quality Tahitian Pearls. Notice the wide range of colors, but no jet-black pearls.


How Are Black Pearls Made?

Tahitian Pearl Oysters Being Held Open with Chocks Waiting for Nucleation


Natural black pearls are made when an irritant enters the shell of an oyster. Cultured black Tahitian pearls are made by inserting a bead nucleus⁠ into a black-lipped Pinctada Margaritifera oyster.

Interestingly the color of pearl produced through culturing is influenced by the host oyster’s shell color. If the inside of the Tahitian black-lipped oyster displays greens or blues, these colors are likely to show up in the pearl. However, Mother Nature is still in charge and there are no guarantees in pearl farming - which is what makes the rarest colors so valuable.

Other black pearls are made by dyeing or irradiating white pearls, such as white Freshwater or white Akoya pearls.


Where Do Black Pearls Come From?

Bag of Loose Tahitian Pearls Imported from French Polynesia

Kevin Canning - owner and CEO of Pearls of Joy - imports Tahitian pearls directly from the source in French Polynesia


You can find natural black pearls in French Polynesia – these are the Tahitian pearls.

French Polynesia is renowned all over the world for its production of beautiful, dark and very colorful Tahitian pearls. Not only are the colors of these pearls natural and unique, but pearl farming in French Polynesia is also a completely sustainable practice. Which makes these “black” pearls the only "green" gems in the world.


Tahitian Pearl Colors

Tahitian Pearl Necklaces showing Multiple Hues


When culturing a Tahitian pearl, technicians insert a small square of donor mantle tissue with a mother of pearl shell bead into a Pinctada Margaritifera oyster. The mantle tissue influences the pearl's color, depending on colors present in the shell of the donor mollusk. It may lead to shades of plum, green, blue, cherry or gray depending on the tissue used.

As well as body color, black Tahitian pearls often exhibit strong overtones of green, cherry, aubergine or peacock. The end result is a pearl that boasts a dark body color and colorful overtones that are only present in black Tahitian pearls.


Shop Tahitian Pearl Necklaces

The Perfect Strand of Black Pearls

Fine Black Tahitian Pearls

Exotic Black Pearls Without The 10x Markup?...

...Is it possible?

Our direct-to-consumer business model means the same quality as the big luxury brands, but a fraction of the cost.  

Black Freshwater and Akoya Pearls

Strands of Black Akoya Pearls

Black Akoya pearls are dyed to achieve this color. The dyeing process leaves pearls that are incredibly uniform in color, and very saturated.


Black Freshwater (China) and black Akoya pearls (Japan) are produced with dyes and treatments. Black color does not exist naturally in these two types of pearls.

Jewelry technicians employ dyes or irradiation to transform light colored pearls into black pearls. One treatment involves an Akoya or Freshwater pearl being dipped or soaked in a silver nitrate solution which darkens the pearl's nacre like a dye. Sometimes irradiation is also used. This process employs gamma rays that darken the nucleus of the pearl. While these processes are artificial, they are considered permanent and often produce fantastic body colors that many jewelry lovers find appealing.

Color treated Freshwater pearls are near jet black pearls with blue, green, violet, copper and sometimes even peacock overtones. Similarly, color treated Akoya pearls are deep black pearls with strong green or blue overtones.


How To Tell Dyed vs. Natural Black Pearls?

Dyed Black Freshwater Pearls

Dyed black Freshwater pearls look nice, but up close you can sometimes see tiny black speckles where the dye has accumulated unevenly.


Yes, you can tell them the difference, but it isn't always easy... Treated pearls tend to be far more uniform in color than Tahitian pearls, which usually show some natural variation.

Another clue is to inspect the drill hole of the pearl. When pearls are dyed, the color will naturally collect in this space and show slightly darker. Looking directly in the drill hole you may also see a darkened nucleus, but this can be hard spot on smaller pearls. No such variation in color will be noticeable in natural black Tahitian pearls.


Green and Peacock Colored Tahitian Pearls

Buying Black Pearls Online – A Word Of Caution

In the last few years, we've witnessed a flood of online sellers selling dyed Freshwater pearls as Tahitian pearls. We've seen this on eBay, Amazon and even some big name online jewelry websites.

Reputable jewelers, like Pearls of Joy, will always disclose whether the pearl is a Tahitian or dyed Akoya or Freshwater pearl. In any case, it's always best to do your own research to better understand exactly what it is you're purchasing.


Black Pearl Buying Guide

For jewelry buyers, understanding the value of black pearls as well as where to buy them is an important consideration.

Black pearls are among the rarest and most valuable pearls in the world. They are cultured and produced in the islands of French Polynesia and farming them is an environmentally sustainable niche skill that has an important positive impact on the sea waters around the pearl farm.

Today, a strand of real black Tahitian pearls will cost from $730 USD to $ 5000, with larger, gem quality necklace strands available upwards of $10,000. However, as little as 20 years ago, a fine strand of Tahitian pearls could cost upwards of $150,000+


Where to Buy Black Pearls?

Tahitian Pearl Necklace on Cream Silk


It should come as no surprise but our #1 recommended source for fine quality black pearls is Pearls of Joy. Since 2003 Pearls of Joy has been importing pearls directly from the source.

Since 2003, Pearls Of Joy have been sourcing their black south sea pearls directly from pearl farms in French Polynesia. Thus, they are able to offer exquisite black pearl jewelry, comparable to high-end luxury brands and at a fraction of luxury prices. As a result of Pearls of Joy with their direct-to-customer business model, top quality black pearl necklaces are now within reach of the average consumer.

Black Pearl Price Range:

  • Dyed Black Freshwater Pearls: $50 - $1000

  • Dyed Black Akoya Pearls: $150 - $2000

  • Natural Color Black Tahitian Pearls: $ 230 - $30,000


Black Pearl Style Guide

Model Wearing Black Tahitian Pearl Jewelry


Black pearls, with their exotic aura and mystique are the definition of style. With their dark colors and colorful iridescence, black pearls are very striking gems. And they can elevate any look, with flair and sophistication. A pair of black pearl ear studs can make an ordinary t-shirt and denim look chic. A Tahitian pearl necklace can be a striking addition to any outfit. Plus, black pearls offer so many options for exploring your personal jewelry style.


The Minimalist

Choose just one piece of black pearl jewelry and use it as the focal point of your entire look. Black pearls are perfect on their own and can create an unforgettably stylish, “quiet luxury,” minimalist look. A lustrous black pearl pendant, worn by a woman or man, is a sexy and chic choice for a minimalist look. A bracelet of black pearls with multicolored overtones, is a sure-fire conversation starter. A black pearl, worn as a cocktail ring is easily one of the most eye-catching pieces of jewelry.


Layering and Stacking

One of the easiest ways to wear black pearls is to stack them while mixing colors, sizes and shapes. A neckmess of black pearl necklaces, with their wonderful overtones is quite a jewelry statement. Try wearing 2 or 3 black pearl bracelets together, creating drool worthy arm candy.

Layering black pearls with gold chains is also a super chic way of styling your look. The luster of the gold complements the luster of the black pearls, creating a look that’s both glamorous and very attractive.


Pairing with Gemstones

Because of their colorful overtones, black pearls work well with nearly every colored gemstone. Black pearls with cherry overtones look best with rubies and pink sapphires, peacock overtones are stunning with emeralds. Silvery blue secondary colors on black pearls make fantastic pairings with sapphires and tanzanites. However, it is diamonds that really bring out the beauty of black pearls. With their brilliance, diamonds are the perfect gemstones to showcase the luster, color and mystique of black pearls.


Model Wearing Tahitian Pearl Pendant and Pearl Ring

Black Pearls at Formal Events

Brunette Model Wearing Tahitian Pearl Jewelry at Black Tie Event


Black pearls are the ultimate jeweled accessory for formal events. With their deep color and vibrancy, these pearls really stand out against a black outfit, be it a floor length evening gown or a black tux. Wear them as a strand necklace, jeweled pendant or drop earrings, these pearls will always deliver in class and sophistication.

But black pearls also love color and look just as fantastic when worn with blocks of deep colors, such as emerald green, carmine red, cobalt blue or even canary yellow. All in all, black pearls are a timeless and versatile pearl choice for evening wear.


📢 Read More: Power Pearls Unpacked

Black Pearls at a Casual Hangout

When these dark pearls are worn with casual outfits, they effortlessly bring a sizzle of style to them. A pair of black pearl ear studs can easily be your go-to look for a casual hangout. A black pearl on a rubber band bracelet is a perfect accessory when you want to dress up your look with something chic but don’t want to overdo it. So, if you ever thought that black pearls had a very formal feel, it may be time for you to explore the fun and relaxed side of these pearls.


Black Pearls at the Office

A pair of Tahitian Black Pearl Stud Earrings on Yellow Gold Mountings


Black pearls are perfect for office wear. In fact, they check every box for power pearls. Paired with trousers and a silk shirt, a pair of tahitian pearl earrings command attention. In the same way, a black pearl necklace gives texture and dimension to the gray and beige palette of office wear, making it look more modern and stylish, while still maintaining the calm and serious air of the office look. So, black pearls are your best friend if you want to look professional but still want to stand out from the crowd.


Shop Our Most Popular Tahitian Pearl Earrings

Black Pearl Meaning and Symbolism

Black pearls carry a strong aura of mystery and are one of the rarest pearls in the world. In different cultures, these pearls carry different meanings. For some, these pearls signify wisdom and hope and for others they point to power, wealth and strength.

Since these pearls come from the lush and tropical islands of French Polynesia, there are many French Polynesian myths about them.

  •    Oro, the French Polynesia god of peace and fertility gave a black pearl to the princess of Bora Bora as a token of his love for her.

  • Another French Polynesian myth explains the origin of black pearls as heavenly dew that comes from the moon and bathes the oysters, making them produce these wonderful pearls.

  • According to a Chinese legend, black pearls were created in the heads of dragons and so represent wisdom, because dragons in Chinese mythology are very wise creatures.


Why We Love Black Pearls

Black pearls are rare and beautiful. But that’s not all. They are versatile and look good on everyone. With their dark colors and fabulous iridescence, high quality black pearls are able to elevate the idea of a pearl to something extraordinary that is modern, edgy, and unique.

We at Pearls of Joy take immense pride in our wide selection of high quality black pearl jewelry. Not only is it beautiful, there is something for every preference and with our direct-to-consumer business model, our black pearl range offers jewelry for every budget. So why not embrace the charm of this enchanting gem and make it your own!

The Perfect Strand of Black Pearls

Fine Black Tahitian Pearls

Exotic Black Pearls Without The 10x Markup?...

...Is it possible?

Our direct-to-consumer business model means the same quality as the big luxury brands, but a fraction of the cost.  

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