Even though most people expect pearls to be white, Tahitian pearls seem to be more special due to their exotic appearance. Tahitian Pearls are the only gem that look black with the glow of many different colors shining through. They are larger in size then most other pearls and make excellent jewelry from pendants to strands.
Tahitian Pearl Colors
Tahitian Pearls come in a variety of colors even though they are all mainly black. The first and most highly valued is the Peacock Tahitian Pearl. The Peacock is a dark green gray to blue gray with rose to purple overtones. The second is called the Aubergine Tahitian Pearl. Aubergine is the French word for eggplant which describes a dark grayish purple Tahitian cultured pearl. The third Tahitian Pearl is named Pistachio for its yellowish green to greenish yellow tint. Tahitian Pearls also come in various shades of silver and platinum from dark to light which truly show off the beauty of a black pearl.
Shape & Size
Most Tahitian Pearls are 8-14mm but Unique Pearl carries the rare 16 to 18mm as well. However, less than half of Tahitian pearls are actually round or near round. About 20% are symmetrical, meaning an oval, button, or drop shape and the remaining are baroque and semi-baroque.
Tahitian Pearls are more valuable than Freshwater Pearls and Akoya Pearls due to their rarity, size, colors, and cost of maintaining and nurturing the their specific mollusk population. When looking at Tahitian Pearls, size and beauty of color are key factors as well as shape and luster.
Tahitian Pearls, also known as the "black pearl", come from the Pacific Ocean, around the French Polynesian Islands - mainly Tahiti. Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to reach Polynesia in 1521 during his first circumnavigation of the world. After him, many other Europeans came to dive for the mother-of-pearl shells which were easily found in shallow waters until 1850 when they became scarce. Not until 1960 did a scientist, Jean-Marie Domard, find a way to culture Tahitian Pearls and hired Japanese grafters to begin the process. In 1966 the first French Polynesian pearl farm was founded. However, Tahitian pearls had no market and were practically unknown in the western world. Farmers came in contact with a well known jeweler in New York who then began marketing Tahitian pearls in the area. He first needed a guarantee that he could receive a constant high quality supply of pearls then he needed a GIA certification that the beautiful colors in each of the pearls was 100% natural to erase the doubts in the customer's minds about fake colored pearls. After his hard work was complete, Tahitian pearls began spreading through the western hemisphere and sales rose and continue to rise in drastic measures.