Exotic black pearls from the Pinctada margaritifera or Black-lip pearl oyster, are more commonly known as Tahitian pearls. These pearls are often referred to as black, but have a remarkable color range that covers the spectrum - from light, creamy white and grey, to regal greens, iridescent peacock and deep black. Tahitian pearls are relative newcomers to the pearl world, popularized only as early as the mid-1900s by the efforts of Mr. Robert Wan of Tahiti and his New York-based colleagues.
Unlike the more common pearl types, Tahitian pearls typically have a naturally dark body color. These pearls have become some of the most sought-after, expensive pearls in the world. Because of their vast color range, matching these pearls into a finished strand is an enormous task requiring thousands of loose pearls to create a single strand.
How do they compare to other types of pearls?
Tahitian pearls are considered to be the second most valuable commercially farmed pearls in the world. Unlike black freshwater and black akoya pearls, which have been irradiated or dyed, Tahitians come by their dark color naturally. Tahitian pearls are bead-nucleated, but unlike akoya pearls, the nacre is typically very thick. The thinnest nacre allowed by French Polynesian law for export is 0.8 mm, which is a depth that would be considered, in the akoya world, extremely thick.