What is Tahitian Pearl

Tahitian pearls are the most popular pearl variety available in the market today. These pearls are bead nucleated pearls cultured in the gonad of the Pinctada Margaritifera mollusc in French Polynesia.

Tahitian Pearl bracelet
Tahitian Pearl Bracelet courtesy americanpearl.com

History of Tahitian Pearl

Long before pearl were farmed in the Tuamotu Atolls, the lagoons were fished for valuable mother of pearl from the black lip oyster Pinctada Margaritifera and to lesser extent the oyster’s rare but highly valuable pearls. The pearly part of the shell (mother of pearl) was used for jewellery and fishhooks but when Europeans discovered the bounty they began collecting the shells en masse to make buttons and inlay for furniture and accessories.

In 1900, Simon Grand, a producer of oysters in Arachon, successfully tested growing young oysters in pristine Polynesian lagoons around the Gambier islands. Three decades later, two biologists, developed a plan for the sustainable cultivation of pearl oysters in Polynesian lagoons. In 1957, Jean-Marie Domard went to study the potential of the method used in the pearls farms of M. Mikimoto in Japan.

In 1962, Mr. Domard successfully nucleated 5000 oysters and after 3 years harvested more than 1000 Tahitian pearls.

Culture of Tahitian Pearls

Tahitian pearls produced in black lipped oyster Pinctada Margaritifera, in the water surrounding Tahiti. These oysters are very large in size, sometimes it reaches over 12 inches and weigh around 10 pounds. And, therefore sometimes they produce larger than average pearls.

Pinctada Margaritifera courtesy lumea.co

From where Farmers get these Black lipped Oysters

Pearl farmers generally raise their oysters from young in specially designated areas. Only mature oysters are used to cultivate pearls, which take around 2 years. Juveniles cannot reliably produce marketable pearls.

Cultivation process of Tahitian Pearls

To stimulate the growth of pearl, pearl farmer insert the bead or nucleus inside the gonad of the Pinctada Margaritifera, reproductive organ of the oyster. A piece of mantle tissue from another oyster is also inserted along with the nucleus to influence the color of the pearl and to help the oyster secrete nacre around the bead. It takes around 2 years to produce a best quality Tahitian Pearl.

Tahitian Pearls are not from Tahitia

Many people believes that Tahitian pearls are solely the product of Tahitia, but this is not true. Tahiti is one of the biggest island of French Polynesia, and famous because it is commercial center and trading hub for the bulk of the industry. Bun in actual there is no pearl farm in Tahiti. Most Tahitian pearl farms are located on one of five archipelagos in the area called, Tuamotu-Gambier Archipelago. Tahitian pearl farms are also present in beyond French Polynesia to the west into the Micronesian islands. Australia, the Seychelles and Vietnam have all produced black pearls as well, but those cannot be referred to as Tahitian Pearls.

Tahitian Pearl Characteristics-

These are most popular pearls in the Market. Following characteristics makes them special

Color

The pearls are unique because of their natural dark colors. Most “black” Tahitian pearls are not actually black, but are instead silver, charcoal, or a multitude of colors with the dominant color being green with the peacock overtone. Truly black pearls are very rare.

Tahitian Pearls
Colors of Tahitian Pearls courtesy americanpearl.com

Size

One of the most important deciding factor in deciding the price of Pearl is their size. If all the other factors of pearls are same, then size decides its value. Tahitian pearls are large in size, just second to South sea pearls. Their size can range from 8 to 18mm.

Overtone

The overtone on Tahitian pearls are what really makes them outstanding. The best Tahitian pearls show a rainbow array of overtone colors. Some of the most popular are peacock, blue green, purple, steely silver and green.

The reason of Tahitian pearls get these overtones because the Pinctada Margaritifera oyster has a mantle which showcase a range of rainbow colors. Tahitian baroque and circular pearls are even more lustrous and colorful than their perfectly smooth spherical equivalents.

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