Introduction to Tahitian Pearls
Whether you call them by their place of origin, Tahiti, or by their deep dark color, the black pearl is one of the most precious parts of anyone's jewelry collection. A top quality black pearl rewards its owner with brilliant luster and rich, iridescent color that can't be matched.
Origin of the Tahitian pearl
Very few black pearls are naturally formed. The original inhabitants of what is now Tahiti treated the few they found as treasures, as did the first Western explorers to see them. They called them "the queen of pearls".
As explorers sought to increase trade in rare natural black pearls, the oyster that forms them became increasingly rare. When the French gained control of what was then called French Polynesia in 1880, the increase in demand helped to push the oyster that produces Tahitian black pearls toward extinction.
How a Tahitian pearl is formed
Today, we culture the Tahitian pearl in lagoons off Tahiti. A small bead of shell or another substance is introduced into an oyster, which causes the oyster to cover the bead with nacre, the iridescent substance we call "mother of pearl".
Only one oyster produces these large, dark pearls, the black lipped oyster (Pictada Margaritifera). These huge oysters can grow to more than 12 inches across.
Types of Tahitian pearls
The Tahitian pearl is known for its color depths, but comes in a range of colors and shapes.
The most highly valued of these pearls are blue, green or peacock colored. Most are black or dark gray with a green cast. Many have a purple cast. Silver gray is another popular color.
Like many pearls, these are available in both round and baroque shapes, offering interesting options in jewelry design.
Brief about Tahitian black pearl jewelry
The jewelry created from elegant Tahitian black pearls may be as simple as a graduated necklace strand, hand-knotted on silk to protect the pearls, or as dramatic as a large pendant of pave diamonds wrapped around a single enormous black pearl.
Working with the gem-quality pearls we use allows our designers to unleash their creativity. Black pearl jewelry designs reflect pearl jewelry traditions and more contemporary visions.
Types of Tahitian pearl jewelry
In the last decade, designers have become exceptionally creative in their work with these richly colored, large pearls.
Necklaces now include not only the traditional single strand in various lengths, using graduated or matched pearls, but also strands of pearls in coordinating mixed colors.
Pendant settings range from traditional caps that focus attention on the beautiful pearl to "eternity" nests to large diamond pave swirls that surround the gem with drama.
Some bracelets wander far from tradition, using fascinating chain or link connections between the large pearls.
Rings offer many choices both traditional and contemporary, including large cocktail settings that will draw the attention any woman might desire.
Earrings go the gamut from simple studs to Edwardian vintage looks.
Truly, every woman will find jewelry made from black pearls that will delight.