Tahitian pearls, often described as “black pearls”, are truly breathtaking. Renowned for their exotic dark colours, they were first introduced to the market in the mid 70s. However, the term “black pearls” is not accurate for these dark beauties as not all Tahitian cultured pearls are black. In fact, they have the most extensive range of natural colours among all pearl types. They can come in shades of grey, black, brown, green, blue, purple and many more colours in between.
French Polynesia is home to Pinctada margaritifera cumingii, commonly known as the black-lipped oyster. It’s interesting to note that this species can also be found in the Cook Islands and the Sea of Cortez.
Why are Tahitian pearls so special and valuable?
It takes significant amount of time and hard work to cultivate a Tahitian pearl. Each oyster can only bear one pearl and the age of first nucleation is around 2 to 3 years. At this point, the black-lipped oysters will grow between 3.5 and 4 inches in diameter. The pearl-growth period is usually between 16 to 24 months. During this pearl-growth period, farmers must take very good care of the oyster and their environment. If, at any point, anything goes wrong with the sea nutrient level, the health of the oyster, or the water temperature, the oyster will not produce any pearl.
Only up to 40% of successfully nucleated oysters can produce good quality pearls. Merely 20% of these pearls are round. The majority of Tahitian pearls are circled or baroque-shaped. When other value factors are equal, circled pearls are less valuable than pearls without circles. So in the end, after 5 years of cultivation, less than 1 to 2% of the pearls are round and of the finest quality.
The lustre of Tahitian cultured pearls ranges from fair to excellent. Their reflection can be so bright and sharp that it can reach almost a metallic shine. This value factor is extremely desirable, especially when it comes with an exotic overtone.
A Fascinating gem produced by human and nature
While almost all the Tahitian pearls on the market are cultured, very few people know the fact that the human effort only takes around 30%. At the end of the day, it is left to the nature to work its own magic to produce a pearl. This reality, probably, makes the pearl the most fascinating gem of all. It’s not only a gem for our jewellery, but also a piece that reminds us of the nature and the world we’re living in.
Thanks to their exotic colours, black Tahitian pearls have changed our traditional image of pearls being just white. They create a fun and glamorous feel, and are adored by celebrities and fashionistas around the world. Pearl-Lang’s stunning collection of Tahitian black pearl jewellery offers the finest pearl quality in the world. Exquisitely designed and crafted with 18ct gold and diamond, our collection includes pendant necklaces and pearl earrings, making them a perfect gift for any special occasion.