There is something inherently beautiful and exotic about Tahitian Pearls and the women who wear them. Just to look at Tahitian Pearls evokes visions of palm trees silhouetted by pink and orange sunsets, humid tropical evenings heavy with the scent of frangipani and hibiscus and afternoons walking hand in hand along lonely white sand beaches. If you have ever wondered about the allure of Tahitian Pearls, read on for our top seven facts.
1. Tahitian Pearls are Farmed In French Polynesia
While their name suggests Tahitian Pearls come from Tahiti, they're actually found in the coral reefs and atolls in the Tuamotu-Gambier Archipelagos of French Polynesia. Formed naturally inside the Pinctada Margaritifera Oyster, these magnificent pearls are farmed by local families in shallow coastal lagoons.
The farming process for Tahitian Pearls is a real community affair. One family will collect the wild oysters and then sell them to another family who seeds the oyster, who then sell them on to another family who grow the oysters, who in turn sell them to another family who harvest the pearls. It may sound complicated but the Tahitian Pearl Industry is strictly controlled by the French Government and operates flawlessly.
2. Black Pearls Are Not Actually Black
Although referred to as 'Black Pearls', the Tahitian colouring is not actually black. Tahitian Pearls form in a variety of tones from light silver/grey to deep green/blue. While dark Tahitian tones may appear very dark they will never be truly black in colour. Pearls with more saturated colour and higher iridescence are considered more valuable, which is why you may have heard black pearls are expensive. In actual fact, a truly high grade Tahitian Pearl will have a rich colour, an exceptional iridescence and lustre and be a good size and shape - so much more than simply being 'black'!
3. Tahitian Pearls Produce a Peacock Iridescence
Unlike Australian South Sea Pearls, which have thick layers of nacre, Tahitian Pearls form with much finer layers of nacre. Because the layers are thinner and there are many more of them, the refraction of light is much stronger and will produce an oil-on-water iridescence known as Peacock. As you turn a truly Peacock Pearl you will see the colour change from blue and green to pink and aubergine. A pearl with strong Peacock characteristics is very rare and and desirable and so will be quite expensive.
4. Tahitian Pearls Are Smaller Than South Sea Pearls
Because the Tahitian Oysters are smaller than Australian Oysters, Tahitian Pearls are slightly smaller than Australian South Sea Pearls. Tahitian Pearls range in size 8mm to 14mm. Pearls larger than 14mm are very rare and in recent times even pearls over 12mm have become scarce. Palomino Jewels uses pearls of 10mm in our Tahitian Pearl Earrings and and 12mm in our Tahitian Pearl Pendants so we are able to ensure quality is maintained and there is a reasonable range of pearls to choose from.
5. Each Pearl Will Have A Unique Shape
As with the Australian South Sea Pearls, every pair of Tahitian Pearls will possess their own distinct shape. Palomino Jewels uses two shapes of pearls in our Tahitian Pearls Earrings; round and drop shapes. Because every pair of pearls is different, each pair of shepherd hooks will be curved to match the pearl suspended from them. The perfect shepherd hook will have an articulated pearl, this ensures the pearl can be moved when the earring is put on and when suspended from the ear it falls into place and closes the loop so the pearl drop hangs securely in place.
6. Tahitian Pearls Pair Naturally With White and Rose Gold
Featured: Palomino Jewels Tahitian Pearls with 18ct Rose Gold Shepherd Hooks and Tahitian Pearls with 18ct White Gold Shepherd Hooks
Palomino Jewels sells two different colour tones in Tahitian Pearls; a bright green/pistachio colour and a deep blue or aubergine tone. The green Tahitian Pearls are set with rose gold shepherd hooks to complement their rosy 'oil-on-water' iridescence. Palomino dark blue Tahitian Pearls are set in white gold because together they produce a much cooler toned jewel. Rather than a iridescence, these pearls produce a purple or aubergine hue and pair naturally with the shimmering silver tones found in white gold.
7. The Perfect Tahitian Pearl For You May Depend On Your Skin Tone, hair Colour Or Even The Weather!
Because of the warm rosy tones found in green Tahitian Pearls, these earrings often look best against warmer skin tones and hair colours. In contrast, the cool hues of the blue pearls complement fairer complexions and lighter hair. Some women will purchase both kinds of Tahitians, wearing the cooler tones in winter and the warmer tones in summer. To a certain extent, the pearls choose the wearer - so when you find the right pair for you - you'll know it!
have we sparked your interest in Tahitian Pearls? View our full Tahitian and South Sea Pearl collection here, and follow us on Instagram for all your jewellery inspiration. Remember to keep a look out next month for the final blog in our three part pearl series.