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
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
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
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.