What are Tahitian Pearls

Breathtaking Tahitian pearls are the most exotic pearls.

Tahitian pearls are cultured in the black-lipped pinctada oyster, which is only found in the warm, brackish lagoons of French Polynesia in the South Pacific.

Tahitian pearls, which typically reach 8 to 14 mm in diameter, are cultured with bead cores that become more precious as they increase in luster, quality and size.

Also known as black South Sea pearls, Tahitian pearls are naturally silver, grey or black with shimmering pinks, greens and blues. The most popular color combinations are called peacock, eggplant, cherry and pistachio.

Featuring classic round shapes, teardrops and unusual baroque shapes, Tahitian pearls are a designer favorite for creating exciting, personalized luxury jewelry.

These beautiful pearls are beloved for their modern, colorful style and perfect for evening wear.

Here are three quick facts I think everyone should know before deciding to buy Tahitian pearls.

#1 - Tahitian pearls are not grown in Tahiti.

Tahiti is the main island hub of French Polynesia, but Tahiti itself does not produce pearls.

Tahitian pearls grow in French Polynesia, an archipelago of 5 islands the size of Europe!

However, there is only about 1,500 square miles of land surface.

The two archipelagos responsible for the majority of pearl production are the Tuamotu and Gambier islands.

#2 - "Black" Tahitian Pearls Are Not Actually Black

When discussing the color of Tahitian pearls (or pearls in general), the term "black" is used to describe pearls with a darker body color.

It can be blue, purple, green, brown, silver - but never really black.

In addition to body color, Tahitian pearls can come in an amazing range of colors (especially round and baroque shapes).

Traditionally, the most sought-after (and expensive) Tahitian pearls will have a dark green body color and peacock (think oil slick) overtones.

Pearls that look like this:

That said, over the past few years, we've definitely seen an increase in the appreciation of all kinds of colors

This multicolor chain shows the difference in color:

*It is important to note that Tahitian pearls are the only natural "black" pearls. Black Akoya and black freshwater pearls are dyed.

Black Freshwater Pearl Necklace

#3 Tahitian pearls come in many shapes (and that's a good thing!)

Tahitian pearls are cored.

This means that the pearl farmer will very cleverly insert a round bead inside the oyster.

The hope is that the oyster will grow a round pearl.

Beads do increase the chances of round pearls, but nature still takes care of the operation.

In fact, less than 10% of picked pearls are round.

These shapes generally fall into 4 categories:


nearly round


round (a type of baroque pearl)