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Tahiti cultured pearls

The Black Pearl

The exotic black pearls of the Pinctada Margaritifera, or black-lipped pearl oyster, are more commonly known as Tahiti pearls. These pearls are often referred to as black, but they actually cover a wide range of dark shades: Greys, browns, greens, blues, silvers, and blacks. Tahiti pearls are relatively new to the world of pearls, only becoming popular in the mid-20th century.

Unlike the most common types of pearls, Tahitian pearls tend to have a naturally dark color and for this reason they have become some of the most rare in the world. Because of their wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes, combining these pearls to make a necklace is an enormous task requiring thousands of loose pearls.

Perlas tahiti cultivadas en su ostra

Tahiti cultured pearls in one of the oysters that create them

Sizes, colors and shapes

Tahiti pearls are among the largest pearls in the world and range in size from approximately 7mm to 18mm. The beauty of Tahitian pearls, however, is not limited to their size, but to their incredible variety of iridescent colors. Black lipped oysters have a rainbow mantle that exhibits all natural colors.

As for the rest of the saltwater pearls, to obtain those from Tahiti, a nucleus is included in the oyster, which favors the achievement of a good quantity of round or semi-round pearls. However, you can also get drop-shaped pearls, baroque pearls, button and ringed pearls. As in the rest of the pearl species, the round ones are the most valuable Tahiti pearls.

Ostra perlas tahití

Tahiti cultured pearls with ring surface

How are Tahiti pearls grown?

Tahiti pearls are created including a core that the oyster then coats with mother-of-pearl, but unlike Akoya pearls, mother-of-pearl is usually very thick. The thinnest nacre allowed by the French Polynesian government for export is 0.8mm, which is a depth that would be considered, in the Akoya pearl world, extremely coarse. This guarantees the brilliance and intensity of colors of these pearls.

Granja de perlas tahiti

Tahiti cultured pearl farm

Where do Tahitian pearls come from?

Although Tahitian pearls are named after the famous island of Tahiti, they are not grown on the island. Tahiti is the commercial headquarters for the atolls that produce Tahitian pearls. Black-lipped pearls are cultivated in French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Micronesian Islands and to some extent in Japan, Thailand and Philippines, but only those grown in French Polynesia can be called Tahitian pearls.

Ostra perla tahiti

Tahiti pearl oyster with its pearl on an atoll in French Polynesia

Other types of cultured pearls