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Tahitian Pearls

The different colors of Tahitian black pearls

The famous Tahitian black pearl, also known as Poerava, is considered to be one of the most precious gems in the world. Despite what its name may suggest, these pearls are not solid black but contain an inner glow of complex iridescent colors. These breathtaking pearls come in a wide variety of hues and colors.

Demystifying the true colors of Tahitian black pearls

A common misconception

Exotic black pearls from the Pinctada margaritifera pearl oyster are more commonly known as Tahitian pearls. These pearls are often referred to as black, but have a remarkable color range that covers the spectrum – from gray, to regal greens, bronze, opalescent peacock, inky black, deep aubergine, cherry red and even blue.

Colors of Tahitian black pearls: a rainbow emanating from within

While Tahitian pearls are generally uniform in color, it is not uncommon to see different shades of gray, blue, green and even pink or purple in the same pearl.
Certain colors of Tahitian pearls are very rare and enhance the market value of the gem. When compared to the other types of pearls (Australian, Japanese, etc.) around the world, Tahitian pearls have by far the richest play of colors. As you gently turn a Tahitian pearl between your fingers you will find a complex interplay of colors that seem to emanate from within. This wide spectrum of hues is what makes them so unique – no two gems are alike!
We invite you to visit Georgia H. jewelers during your next stay in Andorra and see these magnificent gems first hand. We will be more than happy to show you our extensive collection of Tahitian black pearls.

What creates the colors in Tahitian black pearls?

Many factors influence the color of Tahitian black pearls during the long and delicate culturing process.

Factors that influence the cultivation process

The first and integral step of the pearl culturing process is selecting the donor oysters that will be used during the mantle selection process. For this, the oysters with the most remarkable mother-of-pearl are chosen, as they are most likely to produce Tahitian black pearls with magnificent colors. The color of the donor oyster’s mother-of-pearl has a direct influence on the hue of the gem obtained during the harvest. A Tahitian pearl’s color is the result of the union of the donor oyster and the recipient oyster’s genetic information.

Secondly, the quality and temperature of the water present in the lagoon in which the oyster grows also has a direct impact on the final color of the pearl. Expert technicians and divers put years of experience to work as they carefully tend to each oyster.

Lighting conditions

It should also be noted that the natural color of Tahitian pearls shifts as the light they are viewed in changes. Therefore their beauty will change with the hours of the day and the source of the light in which they are viewed.

Hue, luster and saturation: Defining the vocabulary of pearls

Experts use the following descriptors to determine and define the overall color of a Tahitian pearl.


This is the pearl’s most dominant color. As stated above, its hue can vary slightly depending on lighting conditions.


Pearls are made up of layers of nacre. The layers of nacre act like tiny prisms, refracting light and resembling the shimmer seen on a soap bubble. This effect is called iridescence.


The luster is the reflection of light on the surface of a pearl. It is what gives the pearl its sheen. A pearl’s value increases according to the quality of its luster. Four different categories of luster exist: excellent (bright and mirror-like surface), good (very bright or shiny), pale and poor (dull).

What is the orient?

The orient of a pearl is similar to its luster. A pearl is composed of thousands of layers of aragonite crystals and when light bounces off of them it gives the impression of depth. That is why pearls appear to be radiant balls with gossamer contours.

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