What are Tahitian Pearls?

What are Tahitian Pearls?

A Bit About Pearls

When you think of pearls, you may imagine the classic round, white strand we've all over the world. While this may be one of the traditional looks of pearls, there are many more varieties and styles of pearls available. Modern pearl culturing techniques have opened the door to new colors, styles and shapes of pearls, and there's an amazing array available!

A number of factors impact the way a pearl will look, including the type of oyster, the location, and even the cleanliness of the water - and sadly, as our oceans become more polluted there is a change in the quality of the pearls as well.

While we can classify pearls into different types, each pearl has its own unique style, beauty and character.

pearl farm in Tahiti

Tahitian Pearls

Tahitian pearls are salt water pearls, and typically come from the atolls and lagoons of the South Pacific. These pearls range in color from silver and green to a dark charcoal, and exhibit a kaleidoscope of iridescent hues.  These pearls are a FAVORITE of many people in Hawaii, as our island has a long history and connection with Tahiti.  To quote Wikipedia: 

According to oral traditions the second migration of Polynesians to the Hawaiian islands came from a place to the south called Kahiki, which is often identified as Tahiti.

The legendary Tahitian pearls of the South Pacific are most frequently found over a wide area, stretching from the Cook Islands, eastward through Tahiti to the Tuamotu Archipelago and the Gambier Islands in French Polynesia. The Tahitian pearl oyster itself is quite large – sometimes over 12 inches across, weighing as much as 10 pounds. 

Although they’re known for their distinct dark range of colors, even black Tahitian pearls are not actually black. They are are instead silver, charcoal or a multitude of colors, with the dominant color being green. An often sought-after color is “peacock green” – the greenish black color of a peacock feather. Truly black pearls are among the most beautiful pearls in the world and are extremely rare.

Tahitian pearls range in shape as well from semi-round, oval, teardrop, baroque, keshi and round and vary in size from 8 to 18 mm.  

Visit to a Pearl Farm

I'm looking forward to learning everything I can about Tahitian pearls while I'm on my second visit to the farm. From the moment a pearl is harvested, it undergoes a rigorous cleaning and sorting process. The pearls are then graded based on their size, shape, luster and nacre thickness. The highest quality pearls are sent off to be used in high-end jewelry making, while lower quality pearls are sold for a fraction of the price.

No matter what their final destination, each Tahitian pearl is unique and beautiful in its own way. I can't wait to see the amazing Tahitian pearls that come out of the farm while I'm there!  More to come!!

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