Tahitian Pearls: A Quick Buying Guide
When deciding to purchase high-quality pearls, Tahitian pearls are a top choice for many buyers. These unique pearls are known for their distinctive dark colors and lustrous surfaces. However, buying Tahitian pearls can be complex, requiring careful consideration of size, shape, color, luster, and quality.
This 5-minute quick buying guide will provide essential information to help you make the correct choice when purchasing Tahitian pearls.
What are Tahitian Pearls?
Tahitian pearls, aka black pearls, are produced by the black-lipped oyster (Pinctada margaritifera). Legend has it that Tahitian pearls were the first cases of light given by the Creator to Tane, the God of Harmony and Beauty; these pearls inspired the creation of stars. Rua Hatu, the God of the Ocean, was entrusted with the pearls to illuminate his domain, while Oro, the God of War and Peace, gave the first pearls to human women as tokens of love. In honor of his journey on earth, Oro also gave humans "Te ufi" - pearl oysters, which have since thrived in the lagoons of French Polynesia.
Tahitian pearls possess unique dark colors with stunning undertones and overtones exhibiting a mix of peacock colors. Tahitian pearls tend to be larger and rarer than other pearls, making them more expensive. However, the price of Tahitian pearls can also vary depending on their quality; it can start from $50 and may go as high as $25000. High-quality Tahitian pearls have smooth and uniform surfaces with no blemishes or imperfections. The color of the pearl should also be consistent throughout, with no dark spots or uneven coloring.
Where are Tahitian pearls from?
Tahitian pearls are found in the lagoons and reefs of French Polynesia, particularly on the Tuamotu Archipelago and the Gambier Islands.
Why are Tahitian pearls black?
The characteristic dark color of Tahitian pearls is attributed to their cultivation in black-lipped oysters, which have a distinctive black band in their shells. During the pearl formation process, as the oyster releases nacre, the pearl absorbs the black pigment that surrounds it when it is formed. The depth of the pearl's hue is influenced by the proximity of the irritant to the oyster's lips, with pearls formed closer to the lips exhibiting a darker coloration.
Colors, Shapes, and Sizes. Some unique features
Tahitian pearls exhibit several colors, including shades of black, blackish, and dark green, and a range of undertones and overtones such as green, peacock, eggplant, blue, grey, parchment, lemon, gold orange, and many others.
These pearls are also available in various shapes, including round, semi-round, button, circle, oval, teardrop, semi-baroque and baroque, each contributing to a unique aesthetic. Their sizes may start from 8 millimeters and may go up to 14 millimeters. Tahitian pearls are irregular, often asymmetrical surface textures, and rarely perfectly round.
How valuable are Tahitian pearls?
Tahitian pearls are graded on the A-AAA Grading System, a translation of the A-D grading scale used by Tahitian pearl farmers to assess the quality of their pearls. The grading scale ranges from "A," which denotes the lowest commercially available quality, to "AAA," which signifies the highest quality within each yield. The lowest grade Tahitian pearl may cost $500, whereas the highest may fetch $25,000.
Tahitian pearls are famous for various jewelry styles, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings. The most popular type of Tahitian pearl jewelry is the classic strand necklace, which features single or multiple pearls in various lengths and sizes. Other popular styles include drop, stud, and hoop earrings, all featuring Tahitian pearls in various colors and sizes. Tahitian pearl bracelets and rings are also popular, often featuring a single pearl or multiple pearls set in precious metals such as gold or silver.
How to choose Tahitian pearls?
Choosing Tahitian pearls can be a daunting task, but with the right knowledge and guidance, you can select pearls that meet your desired specifications and personal taste.
- Establish a budget that suits your needs and preferences.
- Observe the size and shape of the pearls you want and the type of jewelry you would like to make.
- Compare prices from several dealers to ensure you are getting a fair deal within your budget.
- Classic and Timeless Style: Pick a round Tahitian pearl with a high luster and minimal surface blemishes. These pearls are perfect ideal match for traditional weddings, black-tie events, or business meetings.
- Bohemian and Casual Style: Opt for baroque-shaped Tahitian pearls for a more relaxed look. These irregularly shaped pearls have a unique and organic feel that goes well with flowy, casual outfits.
- Fashion-Forward Style: Try mixing and matching different sizes and colors of Tahitian pearls. For example, you can layer several strands of Tahitian pearls with varying sizes and colors to create a statement look.
- Everyday Style: Choose smaller Tahitian pearls for a versatile and wearable style. These pearls can be worn daily with your casual outfits or dressed up for a more formal occasion.
- Research the store's reputation by checking reviews from previous customers online or through word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Look for certifications and accreditations from recognized organizations in the jewelry industry, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
- Check that the store provides detailed information about their Tahitian pearls' origin, grading, and quality.
- Beware of suspiciously low prices; they may indicate a need for more quality or authenticity.
How to wear Tahitian pearls?
Tahitian pearls can create a stunning and sophisticated look for any occasion with the proper outfit and accessories. Here are a few ideas:
- Wear them as a necklace: Tahitian pearls look stunning as a necklace. Choose a length that suits your outfit and style. You can wear them as a single strand or layer them with other necklaces for a more layered look.
- Choose earrings that complement the pearls: Tahitian pearls also look great as earrings. Choose a style that complements the color and shape of your pearls. Studs, hoops, and drop earrings are all great options.
- Mix and match with other jewelry: Tahitian pearls can be paired to create a unique and stylish look. Consider pairing them with gold or silver jewelry or other pearls.
- Dress them up or down: Pair them with jeans and a casual top for a more laid-back look, or wear them with a formal dress for a special event.
- Consider the color of your pearls: Tahitian pearls come in various colors, from dark green to black. Consider the color of your pearls when choosing your outfit and accessories. Lighter colors may be more appropriate for daytime events, while darker colors are perfect for evening wear.