With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, we figured we would dedicate this next secret of Tahiti to the ultimate gift idea straight from the islands – the Tahitian black pearl. As they are commonly referred to, most people assume that pearls from Tahiti all come in the rich dark green, or black, hue. Yet there are actually a myriad of colors that this unique gem can come in, each just as beautiful as the other. Here you can see just a few of the colors that these pearls come in, a color that is determined by the color of the shell that houses the pearl throughout the entire cultivation process.
The pearl cultivation process is a rather interesting, and extensive process. The average Tahitian pearl takes 4-5 years to create, an exacting technique that has become integral to the economy of French Polynesia. Early pearls found in French Polynesia were all natural pearls that were found once in every 15,000-20,000 oysters that were typically caught to make buttons. Black pearls were extremely rare, and more valuable than diamonds. The first pearl farm was developed in the late 1960s and it wasn’t until the 1980s that pearl cultivation became a significant piece of the country’s economy and a popular souvenir for many visiting tourists.
Today’s Tahitian pearls are created through a grafting process that has been perfected by the locals. After selecting oysters that have the most satisfactory features and a sufficient rearing period has passed, a round piece of shell is inserted into the oyster’s membrane and the shell is returned to the warm waters of the Tuamotu atolls for another 18-24 months for the gestation period. After this gestation period, the oysters are removed from the water and the farmers will find that either the shell has rejected the nucleus and expelled it or there is a lone black pearl nestled within the shell’s membrane. These pearls are the only pearls in the world that do not go through any chemical cleaning process such as bleaching or coloring – all Tahitian pearls are naturally colored.
So if you find yourself still searching for that one gift that is as special, unique and individual as your Valentine, why not look into a piece of Tahitian pearl jewelry? And if you are lucky enough to be traveling to French Polynesia in the coming months, we have a vacation package to the island of Taha’a that is ideal for the pearl lover – a 5 night stay at Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa that includes a visit to one of the local pearl farms where you can view the cultivation process and have the opportunity to purchase an authentic piece of jewelry onsite.
Tell us in the comments below, which of these colors appeals to you most? They say the pearl chooses the owner so it looks like there are plenty of options to satiate the desires of any discerning customer.