are produced by the black-lipped oyster (Pinctada margaritifera). They have been produced for almost exactly 50 years now in French Polynesia, in the lagoons of remote coral atolls and islands – everywhere except on Tahiti Itself!
Kamoka pearl farm,. Ahe atoll, French Polynesia
Black Lip Oysters are now also being farmed in a small way in Australia. The oyster itself is quite large — sometimes up to 12 inches across and weighing as much as 10 pounds — which often results in much larger-than-average pearls. The pearls are unique because of their natural dark colours. Most “black” Tahitian pearls are not actually black, but are instead grey, silver, charcoal,chocolate brown, blue, purple, aubergine, pink, beige or even off-white Truly black pearls are extremely rare.
Tahitian pearls are grown around a bead so are often round but can be semi round to drops as well. Circles are common, and some prefer circle pearls because they are clearly real and not imitation. Tahitian pearls go through x-ray inspection before legal export (ask to see their export certificate and confuse most jewellers!) and have a different grading system A-D where A grade are the best pearls
Sometimes molluscs yield pearls of such quality that farmers put them back in the water for a third time. Third graft pearls will be very large indeed, and the mollusc could be ten years old.
Asymmetrically drilled pearls, often oval. If strung un-knotted they tend to move around against each other on the silk and then are called dancing pearls