What are Tahitian Cultured Pearls
Tahitian pearls are saltwater cultured pearls that are produced from the tropical islands of French Polynesia. Pearl farmers in the islands implant a bead into a large black lip oyster, which then produces a nacre surrounding the bead and creates a cultured pearl. The resulting cultured pearls are prized for their beauty, their nacre, and their naturally dark body color. They are often called “black pearls.” Tahitian black cultured pearls have been on the market for just thirty years.
Tahitian cultured pearls are not actually cultivated on the island of Tahiti, but they are exported from Tahiti after being farmed on nearby islands. The Tahitian cultured Pearls are so named because the Tahitian Ministry of Perliculture sets quality standards for all the pearls leaving the islands – and their standards are high! If a cultured pearl doesn’t have a minimum nacre thickness of 0.8mm or more around the bead nucleus, the Ministry destroys it.
Tahitian Cultured Pearl Characteristics
Known as the black pearl, the incredible natural dark body coloring is what is special about Tahitian cultured pearls. A pearl’s body color is the main, solid color of the pearl and most Tahitian cultured pearls have a body color in the Medium to Dark Charcoal Grey range.
In addition to notably dark body color, Tahitian cultured pearls are also famous for their rainbow of iridescent overtones, which look like shimmering colors floating over the surface of the pearls. The Tahitian trade generally recognizes three color groups: Aubergine (dark grayish purple), peacock (dark green-gray to blue-gray with purple or rose overtones) and pistachio (yellowish-green to greenish-yellow). Tahitian cultured pearls cannot be treated.
Tahitian cultured pearls are also known for their wide variety of shapes – from perfect round pearls to smooth and symmetrical tear-drops or even heavily circled baroques and highly asymmetrical shapes. They are also notable for their size. Most Tahitian cultured pearls average between 9 and 13 millimeters.
Tahitian Cultured Pearls Value/Grading
Are Tahitian cultured pearls valuable? Yes! They are often considered the highest valued pearl. Their large size is one factor, but the unusual colors and variety of shapes of Tahitian cultured pearls also weigh in. In addition, there are fewer Tahitian cultured pearls produced than other types, leading to higher demand and higher prices.
With such a wide array of unique shapes and colors in Tahitian cultured pearls, it can take years to put together a Tahitian cultured pearl strand. Matching enough pearls for a necklace or even a bracelet can be a long and difficult process. That makes a Tahitian cultured pearl strand a truly rare piece of jewelry.
As is the case with many gemstones, there are Tahitian cultured pearl knock-offs on the market. But the good news is you can often tell if a Tahitian cultured pearl is real just by looking at it. Fake Tahitian cultured pearls lack the luster of the real thing and look dull. The real Tahitian cultured pearls have a rainbow luster and will give off a colorful sheen that changes according to the angle of the light.
So the big question is how much does a Tahitian cultured pearl cost? As always, it depends on the quality of the pearl. The size, nacre, coloring, shape, and inclusions on a pearl all affect the price. While there is no official grading system for the pearl industry as a whole, the grading system of Tahitian cultured pearls is mandated by the French Polynesian government. The system grades on a scale of A to D, with A being the best quality.
Tahitian cultured pearl care
Tahitian cultured pearls should be cared for in the same manner as any other pearls – whether they’re South Sea cultured pearls or natural pearls. Pearls want to be worn – they can dehydrate if left in a jewelry box or safe too long. But when pearls are worn, they should be the last thing the wearer puts on and the first thing they take off. Because they’re organic gemstones, they are sensitive to oils, perfumes, and any chemicals. Pearls can be wiped off with a clean cloth or, if soiled, cleaned with a lightly soapy mixture. Pearl strands should never be soaked in water because the silky threads could be damaged.
Tahitian Cultured Pearl Jewelry
A piece of Tahitian cultured pearl jewelry is a showstopper. With the distinctive coloring and overtones, wearing Tahitian cultured pearls makes a statement – and that statement can come on any part of your body you wish to adorn. Black Tahitian cultured pearl necklaces are likely the most widely recognized, but Tahitian cultured pearl rings are growing in popularity. Tahitian cultured pearls make a memorable gift for anyone – but especially for those lucky enough to be born in June.