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Tahitian Pearls

Tahitian Pearls - Queen of Pearls

Tahitian pearls, symbols of luxury and perfection, have long been sought for their exceptional beauty and value. Often called the "queen of pearls" or "creation of the sea". Tahitian pearls have captured the imagination of many buyers.

Tahitian Pearls Quality Control

The Tahitian government imposed a strict rule on Tahitian pearls’ quality and export control. All exported Tahitian pearls must meet a minimum 0.8mm nacre thickness. These requirements have significantly increased the value of Tahitian pearls. This last year alone, the price of these pearls increased 20 – 30 percent.

copyright GIE Perles de Tahiti

Tahitian Pearls Quality

Six factors determine Tahitian pearls quality: luster, nacre thickness, surface, color, size, and shape.

Tahitian Pearls Nacre thickness: The most important factor when measuring Tahitian pearls quality. It determines how long the beauty of Tahitian pearls will last. Tahitian pearls with thick nacre will last a lifetime, while Tahitian pearls with thin nacre aren’t nearly as resilient.

French Polynesia Government has set up a minimum nacre thickness of 0.8mm for Tahitian pearls.

Tahitian Pearls Surface quality: Premium Pearl has four grades to rate the surface quality of Tahitian pearls: AAA, AA, A, B. AAA quality Tahitian pearls are the most valuable.

AAA Quality: Tahitian pearls with very high luster and clean surface (one to a few slight flaws are distributed over less than 10% of the pearl surface)

AA Quality: Tahitian pearls with medium to high luster and slight surface imperfection (some slight flaws are distributed over 30% of the pearl surface)

A Quality: Tahitian pearls with medium luster and medium surface imperfection (some slight flaws are distributed over 60% of the pearl surface.

B Quality: Tahitian pearls are heavily spotted (many slight flaws or several deep flaws are distributed over 60% of the pearl surface)

Tahitian Pearls Luster: Luster is the best expression of a pearl's beauty. Luster measures the shine of a pearl’s surface. High quality Tahitian pearls have high luster and a mirror-like finish. Tahitian pearls with sharp and intense light reflection have high luster and a metal-like steely look.

Tahitian Pearls Size: Most common sizes for Tahitian pearls range from 8mm to 14mm. Some Tahitian pearls are 16mm and very rarely over 18mm. The largest Tahitian pearl in the world is 21mm for a round pearl and 25mm for a semi-round pearl. The larger the pearls, the more valuable the pearls are.

Tahitian Pearls Shape: Tahitian pearls have the following shapes:
• round
• semi-round
• semi-baroque
• baroque
• ringed or circled

Among all shapes, round is the most desirable and valuable. Other shapes may have special appeal to jewelry artists.

Round Tahitian pearls are almost perfect spheres. Round Tahitian pearls are rare and the production rate only accounts for 5-10% of Tahitian pearls produced each year.

Semi-round Tahitian pearls are nearly round.

Semi-baroque Tahitian pearls are subdivided into four shapes: drop, button, pear and oval.

Baroque Tahitian pearls are described as irregular shapes.

Tahitian Pearls Color: Black-lipped oysters produce the natural black color of Tahitian pearls. Although Tahitian Pearls are famous for their black natural color, they have a wide range of colors including black, gray, blue, green and brown. These colors are referred to as body colors. Body colors are enhanced by at least one overtone colors. Overtone colors include blue, gold, silver, pink and reddish purple.

Different names are given to a combination of overtone and body colors.

Peacock: greenish black
Pistachio: greenish gray
Cherry: purplish black
Champagne: yellowish gray
Lavender: bluish black
Tahitian gold: golden black
Pigeon gray: purplish gray
Silver: gray
Moon gray: pale gray

Among these colors, peacock and pistachio are the most popular colors. Tahitian pearls with peacock and pistachio colors have a higher value than Tahitian pearls with other colors.

Buying Tahitian Pearls

When buying Tahitian pearls, color, quality, size, design, setting, and matching of Tahitian pearl jewelry need to be paid attention.

Real Tahitian Pearls vs. Imitation Tahitian Pearls

Be cautious about imitation Tahitian pearls sold in the market. Here are some tips about the difference between real Tahitian pearls and imitation Tahitian pearls.

Colors of Tahitian Pearls
Real Tahitian pearls have body color(black, gray, blue, green and brown) enhanced by at least one overtone colors(blue, gold, silver, pink and reddish purple). Real Tahitian pearls have a faint reddish glow when viewed through crossed filters.

Imitation Tahitian pearls only have one body color; they don't have any overtone colors. The color looks very flat.

Viewed Under 10x Lens
When viewed under a 10 x lens, bubbles or mat patterns will be seen under the surface of imitation Tahitian pearls.

Weight of Tahitian Pearls
Real Tahitian pearls are heavy to hold, while imitation pearls are light to hold.

Temperature of Tahitian Pearls
Some imitation Tahitian pearls are made of plastics. When touching them on your skin, they don’t feel cool.

Teeth Test on Tahitian Pearls
When rubbed across the teeth, real Tahitian pearls feel gritty while imitation Tahitian pearls feel smooth.

Prices of Tahitian Pearls
Since imitation Tahitian pearls are very cheap to make, they usually cost very little. If a well matched Tahitian pearl necklace costs less than $200, they must be imitation Tahitian pearls.

Drilled holes around Tahitian pearls
Most imitation Tahitian pearls show roughness around drilled holes due to mass-production of such pearls. For individual loose pearls sold in the market, most real Tahitian pearls are non-drilled. Imitation Tahitian pearls are already drilled.

For more information about Tahitian cultured pearls, please visit Tahitian pearl official web site http://www.perlesdetahiti.net/