Tahitian black pearls are "The Worlds Most Precious Natural Gem" according to the Gemological Institute of America,1998. The vibrant colors of the Tahitian pearls make them unique. You can expect any color of the rainbow reflected back to you in the pearls surface. Tahitian pearls also come in many different shapes and sizes.

There are five characteristics to look for when grading a Tahitian pearl for value. The categories are luster, shape, surface, size and color. When looking at a Tahitian pearl, it must be shiny. The light will reflect right back to you, and not look dull. The shape of the pearl is classified into four main categories, listed in order of value. The rarest shape is round, which is a perfect sphere. The semi-round shape looks slightly round to the eye, or it may appear oval. The semi-barouqe shaped pearls look like teardrops, the most valuable being the perfectly symmetrical drop shaped pearls. The least valuable shape are circle pearls. These are the pearls that appear to have rings around them. This is not considered a flaw, it is just a unique shape. The surface of the Tahitian pearl is graded as follows: A, B, C, and D. The most valuable pearls are A quality, which means they only have one or two imperfections. An imperfection is a "dimple" or indentation in the surface. The second most valuable pearls are B quality. This means the pearl has between two to five flaws in the surface, with a 70% of a clean surface. The pearls that are C quality have five or more flaws. The D quality pearls are not exported outside of French Polynesia to maintain the market value.

The value of the Tahitian pearl is higher the larger the size. The size of Tahitian pearls can range from 8 mm to 19 mm. These pearls are large, picking up where Japanese white pearls leave off with size. The smallest size of Tahitian pearls is 8 mm. An easy way to tell if a pearl is a authentic naturally colored Tahitian pearl, is if it is smaller than 8 mm. The average sizes range from 9 mm to 11 mm. The next size category ranges from 11 mm to 13 mm. Tahitian pearls that are more than 14 mm are extremely rare and very valuable.

The color of the Tahitian pearl does not always affect the value. It is personal preference, and what you like to wear. There are however, certain colors that are considered more valuable than others. The colors of the Tahitian pearl that will not affect the price are as follows: green, blue, gray, silver, rose, and dark gray. The colors that will increase the price are rainbow, peacock, champagne, bright blue, and aubergine. "Rainbow" is a special pearl that will show many different colors in one pearl, ranging from pink to green to blue. "Peacock" pearls are electric green with an over tone of rose. "Champagne" pearls are golden in color. "Bright Blue" are very rare and this color is valuable. "Aubergine" pearls have a distinct eggplant color. All of these rare colors will have to specified when ordered.

The term "black pearl" identifies the species of oyster that these pearls come from. The Latin name of the oyster is the Pinctada margeritafera, and it has a black lip. The mother-of-pearl shell has a rainbow irredecence to it, any color reflected in the shell can be represented in the surface of the Tahitian pearl. That is why the "black pearl" actually has many colors.

This black oyster is native to Tahiti. Today, these extraordinary pearls are farmed all over French Polynesia. Tahitian black pearls are a cultured pearl.The culturing process takes five years, from the birth of the oyster to the finished beautiful pearl. The culturing process is the exact same procedure that produces white pearls. The oyster is grown on nets deep in the ocean for three years until is is ready to accept an implanted nucleus. The implant is no grain of sand, it is a five millimeter bead of mother of pearl. There is a very delicate procedure of surgically inserting the nucleus into the sexual gland of the oyster. The oyster then coats this implant with a calcium compound, called "nacre". The government of French Polynesia insists that any pearl exported outside of the country must have a 2 mm minimum coating of nacre. This ensures the Tahitian pearl is of superior quality.

The Tahitian black pearls are extremely durable. The only thing that will scratch the surface of the pearl is a loose diamond. They don't like to be exposed to chemicals, such as chlorine, hairspray or perfumes. They like to be cleaned with cold water and a soft cloth. Chemical cleaners that are commonly used to clean jewelry will not be good for your Tahitian pearls. The pearls love to be worn, and the natural oils from your skin are healthy for them.


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