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 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.
*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 blackWhen 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:
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:
*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:
- near round
- circle (a type of baroque pearl)
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:
"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.
If you're interested in buying Tahitian Pearls - View my collection of Tahitians here