About the Pearls
Black and dark Tahitian pearls have been the favorite of royalty through the ages. These pearls are larger than traditional white pearls and have a darker metallic sheen. Tahitian pearls are popular amongst women who want a bolder look and feel.
BLACK LIPPED OYSTER
Lat. Pinctada Margaritifera Cumingi
Size Range: 8-17 mm
Avg.Size: 10-11 mm
History & Cultivation
In the late 1700's Europeans established contact with Polynesians in the pacific islands. In addition to new species of animals and plants, this also lead to the discovery of large black pearls known today as Tahitian pearls. These pearls quickly became favorite of European royalty. Today, these pearls have become a coveted prize in a woman's fine jewellery wardrobe.
Tahitian Pearls Today
Today, the Tahitian black pearl is a mainstay in the fine jewellery market place. Since the 1960's, Tahitian cultured pearls have become a major export of French Polynesia. The knowhow and technology have resulted in gem quality pearls in this short time.
Tahitian pearls are more easily noticeable as a result of their darker colours and metallic shine. Some of the pearls also display a highly desired prismatic or rainbow effect called orient. Next, the overtone is the subtle colour the pearl reflects.
Value of a specific Tahitian pearl as well as the finished jewellery piece is dependent on many factors. The most important are size, shape, luster and surface quality. These factors you can immediately see. Also, a less visible value factor is nacre thickness. Regulations require that Tahitian cultured pearls have a minimum average of 0.8mm nacre thickness. The next value factor is how well matched the pearls are within necklaces, earrings and other finished pieces.
Lustrous Tahitians are best known for their large, round and dark pearls. However less than 40% are round. Their shapes from symmetrical to baroque are also prized. As these pearls are significantly larger, each of the shape's differences are more pronounced. In addition it takes approximately five years from collection to pearl harvesting, As a result, each pearl is valued greatly.