Katherine Amelia Barnes

·An experienced professional in the jewelry industry, 2000 - Present

·Graduate Gemologist (GG)

·Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter (CSM)

·Skilled writer, with work featured in various online and print publications

·Passionate about sharing her expertise with others

·Strong communicator and collaborator

·Respected and trusted by peers and clients alike

Black pearls are unique gems that stand out among other jewels. They have been prized by royalty and nobles for centuries, and their mystique and allure continue to grow. They come from the dark water of the ocean, and their color is so intense that they are often called "black diamonds." 

But where do black pearls come from? How did they get their iconic status? And what is their symbolic meaning? After years of experience working in the jewelry and fashion industry, I have a great deal of knowledge about black pearls. In this article, I will summarize the origin and fascination of these elegant gems so that you can explore the fascinating origins of black pearls and learn how to wear them stylishly. Let's dive in!

A brief history of black pearls

Today, black pearls are the world's most valuable and sought-after. But it hasn't always been that way. Black pearls were once considered to be worthless. It wasn't until the early 20th century that black pearls began to be appreciated for their beauty.

When were black pearls discovered?

Black pearls were first discovered in the early 1800s in Polynesia. They were initially found in Tahiti but later uncovered in other parts of the South Pacific, including Samoa and Fiji. 

One of the most popular types of black pearls is Tahitian pearls. Tahitian black pearls have been known in Europe since the discovery of Polynesia by Europeans. The Russian Empress Catherine II had a necklace of 30 black pearls. The French Empress Eugenie also boasted a black pearl necklace. In addition, 30 black pearls adorned the Austrian crown.

In 1900, biologist Bouchon Bradley began experimenting with the cultivation of black pearls. However, it took 65 years for them to be crowned with success and then another 11 years for Tahiti pearls to officially become a precious natural stone and "pearl of natural color."

Black pearls are scarce and are highly valued for their beauty. As a result, they quickly became trendy, particularly among European royalty and nobility. They were often used in jewelry and are considered a symbol of luxury. For example, celebrities like Blake Lively, Rihanna, and Anne Hathaway have all been spotted wearing black pearls.

Today, black pearls are highly coveted and often used in fine jewelry. They are also a popular choice for bridalwear and other special occasions.

How are black pearls formed?

Black pearls are formed as any other pearl type when an oyster or mollusk produces nacre, or mother-of-pearl, around a foreign object lodged inside its shell. It can happen naturally, or man can induce it through a process known as pearl farming.

Black pearls are formed inside Pinctada margaritifera oysters. They are also called black-lipped oysters: these animals' mantle and shell edges are black. When creating a pearl, they secrete a pigment of gray, coal, silver, and, less often, black. The closer the pearl is to the inner shell, the darker it will be.

Natural black pearls are scarce. They are often considered even more valuable than white pearls. Pearls of this type are silver, jet black, and dark green.

The vast majority of black pearls on the market today are cultured pearls. These are created in pearl farms, where Pinctada margaritifera are carefully cultivated and monitored.

What are the varieties of black pearls?

Black pearls come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. However, the most popular and valuable black pearls are those with a deep, rich hue.

It's a bit of a mystery why black pearls come in other colors. Some scientists believe it may have something to do with how light reflects off the pearl's surface. Others think it might be due to a quirk in the oyster's metabolism. Besides, some believe that these beautiful gems get their hue from the various algae and other microscopic organisms living in the waters where they are found.

There are many different black pearls, each with unique properties and appearance. The most common type is the saltwater Tahitian black pearl, found around Tahiti. These pearls are typically dark, with a greenish or bluish tint. They are also relatively large, with an average size of around 10mm.

Other popular gems pearls include the saltwater South Sea black pearl, found in the waters around Australia and Indonesia. These pearls are usually a bit lighter in color than Tahitian pearls, with a silver or white hue. They are also larger, with an average diameter of around 15mm.

Finally, freshwater black pearls are also found in lakes and rivers in various parts of the world. These pearls are tiny, with an average diameter of around 5mm. They are also quite rare, making them highly sought after by collectors and jewelers.

What are the shades of black pearls?

Black pearls are rarely truly black. Usually, their color is much more complex: it contains shades of creamy white, green, gray, steel, and purple. It beckons and bewitches like no other gem.

As far as colors go, black pearls are some of the most versatile and exciting. With their impressive range of shades, including warm hues like copper brown and icy shades of blue and grey, plus iridescent mixes in peacock tones, black pearls have a lot to offer in terms of color.

But what exactly causes these shades' differences? It all has to do with the type of oyster the pearl comes from and the environment in which it forms. For example, black pearls from Tahiti are typically more copper-toned, while those from French Polynesia tend to be more blue-grey.

The color of a black pearl can also be affected by the depth at which it forms. Deeper water typically produces cooler, more blue-grey shades, while shallower water leads to warmer hues like copper and bronze.

What do black pearls symbolize?

Black pearls are often associated with mystery, luxury, and power. In many cultures, they are also considered good luck symbols.

The black pearl is said to be created when an oyster or other mollusk comes into contact with a piece of black coral. The legend goes that the black coral is the remains of a dragon or other mythical creature. The oyster then absorbs the creature's power and strength, reflected in the black pearl.

Because of their rare and unique appearance, many cultures have prized black pearls. In some cultures, they were believed to be the tears of gods or other supernatural beings. In others, they were considered to embody darkness and evil. However, in most cultures, black pearls are seen as symbols of incredible beauty and desirability.

Black pearls are often given as gifts to mark special occasions or show someone appreciation. They are also popular items for jewelry and other decorative purposes. Whatever their meaning or symbolism, black pearls remain one of the world's most intriguing and desired natural substances.

What are the legends of the origin of black pearls?

The peoples of Polynesia believed that black pearls are born in the dark, in the middle of the night: moonlight falls on the water's surface, attracting oysters to rise. If they follow the light, the moon showers them with celestial dew. From the dew drops, black pearls appear.

In ancient China, unusual pearls were considered a symbol of limitless wisdom. According to legend, they were formed in the head of the wisest dragons. Such a dragon wore a black pearl in his teeth until his death, not letting go. Only a very brave or lucky hero could get it.

In Ceylon, the appearance of pearls was associated with Adam and Eve. Shedding tears, they created a whole lake filled with pearls. White pearls were formed from Eve's tears, and black pearls were formed from Adam's tears. This legend explained why black pearls are less common in nature than white pearls: because men cry less than women.

What types of black pearl jewelry are available?

A few styles stand out when it comes to black pearl jewelry. The main types are the following:

A black pearl necklace with a single strand of pearls 

A black pearl necklace is a classic piece of jewelry that can be worn for any occasion. Black pearls are known for their beauty and elegance and make a great addition to any outfit. For instance, many people love the classic look of a single strand of pearls. In addition, it can be worn for casual and formal occasions, making it a versatile option.

A pearl necklace with a pendant 

Another popular style is a pearl necklace with a pendant. Wearing a necklace with a pendant is a fantastic way to show who you are and can be done elegantly or informally, depending on the situation.

Black pearl earrings 

Of course, black pearl earrings are also a timeless option that can be worn with just about anything. Black pearl earrings are trendy, adding a touch of elegance to any outfit. Whether you choose studs or dangles, this classic jewelry staple can't go wrong.

A black pearl bracelet 

Besides, a black pearl bracelet is an attractive option that can be worn alone or stacked with other bracelets. Black pearl bracelets are often more casual than other black pearl jewelry options, but they can still be dressed up for a night out.

A black pearl ring 

Finally, don't forget about black pearl rings. These are a great way to add a bit of glamour to your look, and they can be worn on any finger. With a black pearl ring, you can choose between a simple band or something more extravagant, depending on your preference.

How to wear black pearls?

Black pearls are the perfect accessory for any outfit. They can add a touch of elegance to a casual look or make a statement with a more formal ensemble.

The classic wearing rule also applies to black pearl jewelry - wearing no more than two types of accessories is recommended simultaneously. It means that in one image, there can be, for example, beads and earrings or a ring and earrings. This rule is dictated by the excessive abundance of this stone, which makes the image heavier and deprives it of sophistication.

Regarding color solutions, black pearls look especially advantageous on fabrics of contrasting colors: white, red, beige, blue, and others. Bold businesswomen wear black pearl jewelry with a white shirt, skillfully diluting a dull business look.

When wearing black pearl jewelry, it is essential to consider the occasion. For example, black pearls are generally considered more formal than other colors and may not be appropriate for everyday wear.

Tips on how to match and wear black pearl jewelry 

Here are some tips on how to match and wear black pearl jewelry for different occasions:

- For a formal occasion, such as a wedding or gala, choose black pearl jewelry that is elegant and classic. A string of pearls or pearl earrings is always a good choice.

- For a more casual occasion, such as a dinner party or night out, you can be a little more daring with your black pearl jewelry. For example, try a chunky pearl necklace or bracelet.

- For a fun and funky look, pair black pearl jewelry with other bold colors. Red is a great choice, or you could try purple or green.

- For a more sophisticated look, pair black pearl jewelry with neutral colors like white, cream, or gray.

Make sure your black pearl jewelry is appropriate for whatever occasion you are dressing for. Be creative and have fun with how you wear it!

Bottom Line

Black pearls have been around for centuries, and their allure is only increasing. No matter the event, you'll find the perfect decoration with these gems since coming in different shapes, sizes, and colors.

Whether you're looking for something flashy or subtle, black pearl jewelry has something to offer everyone. And don't forget – these unique gems can be worn in various ways to enhance your look. We hope this post has helped you learn more about the fascinating world of black pearls!