Introduction to Tahitian Pearl Rings
In the early 1970s, pearl enthusiasts were electrified by the arrival of something completely new and exciting: Tahitian black pearls. Their large size and unusual coloring made them an instant sensation, and the public's appetite for them remains undiminished today. For those who want to wear something truly striking and out of the ordinary, a Tahitian black pearl ring is just the thing.
Large oysters tend to produce large pearls, so it is no surprise that Pinctada margaretifera, which normally grows up to a foot in diameter, has pearls of superior size. Tahitian pearls, which are actually grown on several islands of French Polynesia, range from about eight to 17 millimeters making them some of the largest pearls on the market. Body color varies from pale gray to complete black. Other dark colors such as blue, purple and green are sometimes seen. Tahitian pearls are famed for their overtones, which can be pink, purple, silver, turquoise and other shades.
Their size and amazing look make them perfect for rings, where they often appear alone or with diamonds. A single Tahitian pearl surrounded by smaller diamonds is irresistible to the eye, never failing to draw attention.
Only the most symmetrical and unblemished pearls are selected for rings. Settings are generally small to accentuate the pearl's roundness. Large, heavy settings are seldom seen. The colors of Tahitian pearls make them go well with white metal, or silver and white gold are favorites. However, Tahitian pearl rings made of yellow gold are sometimes seen, especially when the pearl has golden overtones. Black, gray and silver body colors are generally favored for a black pearl ring, though other colors can be found.
These pearls look great alone, but the variation in color from one specimen to the next also makes them work well in twos or threes. Sometimes a Tahitian black pearl ring will feature a lighter pearl paired with a darker one. The overtones will also be different, so the interplay of colors can be quite appealing.
The perfect shape of the pearls is one of the main attributes of Tahitian black pearl rings. To highlight this, compositions tend to rely heavily on narrow, ribbon-like lines encircling the pearl. In addition to the white stones often used in these black pearl rings, amethysts are sometimes used when the pearl has purple or rose overtones.
When pearls are placed in quality types, they are only judged in comparison to other specimens of their own type. For instance, Tahitian pearls, Akoyas and other types are not graded together. The difference in size, color and overtones are so great that comparing one type to another would be an "apples and oranges" comparison that would have little real value. For this reason, Tahitian pearls have their own specific standards for grading.
Most jewelers grade pearls on a scale running from A to AAA. Among Tahitian pearls, the A category has blemishes on at least 60 percent of the surface, and about 20 percent have deep blemishes. Category AA pearls are blemish-free over 40 percent of their surfaces, and only 10 percent have deep flaws. Grade AA+ pearls are at least 80 percent flawless. The top grade, AAA, has blemishes on no more than five percent of the surface.
The unique feature about Tahitian pearls is their coloring, a big departure from the coloring of other types of pearls. Their body colors and brilliant, iridescent overtones are like nothing else. They're big, bold and unusual, and their features are used for good advantage in Tahitian pearl rings.