The natural black color of the Tahitian pearl comes from the black-lipped variety of the Pinctada maxima oyster. These oysters are formed on the volcanic atolls of Tahiti, where the mixture of nutrient-rich ocean water mixes with warm lagoons, creating an ideal environment for them and the only place where Tahitian pearls can be found. Like the South Sea pearl oyster, the black-lipped Pinctada maxima is sensitive to the cultivation process, making the Tahitian pearl rare and expensive, and their black colour adds a dramatic touch.
A natural substance, it is the fruit of the combination of animal and mineral. Cultivated by man, it is the arbitrator of a constant dialogue between him and the elements. Pampered from its earliest age in the womb of the black-lipped oyster, it perfects its beauty and lustre over two long years.
The pearl farmer constantly watches over it, much like a father over his son. Should the weather look stormy, he immerses it more deeply in the lagoon. Should the weather turn too warm, he will move it to a cooler place.
The delicate nature of this species of oyster means that of every hundred oysters nucleated, only thirty will produce pearls. Out of these thirty pearls, only one or two will be perfect gems.
Tahitian pearls are the only naturally black pearls in the world. All other saltwater pearls and freshwater pearls must be dyed, irradiated or otherwise treated to achieve this colour.
Perfect at birth, it needs no molding or shaping, just the enhancement of its natural beauty with other jewels worthy of it. And so, the pearl farmer of Polynesia could do no less than entrust such a divine object into the hands of the finest jewelers, who know how to pay homage to its imperial beauty.
Tahitian Pearl Legends-
- The Tahitian pearl Pinctada Margaritifera oyster shell, was in such high demand due to the beautiful iridescence of its surface that it was almost totally exhausted by the end of the 19th century.
- The ancient Chinese believed that pearls were conceived in the brains of dragons. In imperial China, the natural black pearl was regarded as a symbol of wisdom. As such, it was guarded between the teeth of a dragon, which had to be slain before the pearl could be taken.
- A Ceylon legend tells how the tears of Adam and Eve created a lake that gave birth to pearls - white or pink pearls from Eve's tears, and more precious and rare gray and black pearls from Adam's tears. Why the difference? Man knows better how to control his emotions, according to the legend.
The Tahitian pearl has earned a reputation for value and rarity. This reputation was further enhanced by its use in the jewelry of the world's royalty and nobility. Soon the Tahitian pearl became known as the "pearl of queens and queen of pearls".
Today, the Tahitian pearl has become an exotic gem sought after by celebrities and pearl aficionados alike