Tahitian Cultured Pearls
Often called black pearls, Tahitian pearls grow in the warm, turquoise lagoons of French Polynesia and other islands in the South Seas. Their opalescent black hue shimmers with peacock green, gray, and purple overtones for a sensual, smoldering statement in jewelry designs for both men and women.
The Scoop On Color And Size
Tahitian pearl colors range from gray to black with pure black extremely rare and very valuable. Consistent color tone makes pearls highly desirable with peacock tones demanding the highest prices. Tahitian pearls are harvested between 8.0 mm to 15.0 mm. Sizes up to 20.0 mm occur rarely and are highly prized.
P. margaritifera, or black-lipped oyster, is a large tropical oyster that can live up to 30 years. In the 19th century, free-diving Polynesians braved sharks and the physiological challenges of deep water diving to harvest it. Only one in 15,000 P. margaritifera produced a natural pearl, but the European button industry had an insatiable appetite for the inner shell that all but devastated this oyster population.
Today, a complex cultivation process has resurrected French Polynesia’s pearl industry with P. margaritifera farmed in numerous atoll lagoons. They are also farmed in the Marshall, Cook, and Solomon Islands and the waters off Northern Australia. In all locations, strict government regulations assure pearl quality and preservation of the species.
Get The Look
What shows off a Tahitian pearl best? It depends on the recipient. Single pearls set in cuff links or as a tie stud make great gifts for men who seek a sophisticated look with natural appeal. For women of all ages, the choices are many. Few gems offer greater drama than strands of Tahitian pearls — dynamic for day or evening wear. Used individually or in combination with white or golden pearls, black pearls create superbly fashionable jewelry that, with proper care, will last for generations.