Tahitian black pearls, though really it is more accurate to say Tahitian cultured pearls, as they are created in variety of colors, are the perfect souvenir to take with you from French Polynesia. The majority of authentic Tahitian pearls are produced in the warm waters of The Tuamotu Islands and Gambier Islands. These magnificent jewels symbolize the beauty of The Islands of Tahiti.

Tahitian pearls are classed from Perfect to A, B, C and D. They are judged on five criteria: sheen, smoothness, color, size and form. Pearls classed as Perfect (or TOP GEM) have no defects at all. You can find out everything about pearl cultivation at the Pearl Museum in Papeete. In this section we’ll explain how the pearls are cultivated and classed, and receommend the best places to purchase pearl jewelry.

Tahitian black pearls

You can buy Tahitian black pearls on necklaces, rings, bracelets, pendants and even unmounted. Tahitian black pearls are different from other pearls as they are produced by an oyster with black lips and a dark body. The Tahitian pearl is the only naturally ‘black’ pearl, although the color isn’t really black. In fact, Tahitian black pearls come in a whole range of colors, the most popular of which is a very dark green with a pearly sheen. Black pearls found elsewhere, such as the Akoya pearl, are tinted or exposed to radiation to achieve a dark color. Tahitian pearls are also some of the largest in the world, with diameters ranging from 8 to 18mm.

The warm lagoons almost everywhere in The Islands of Tahiti are ideal for pearl cultivation because of the temperature, salinity and purity of the water. Commonly known as ‘black pearls’, Tahitian pearls can actually be found in a whole range of colors, including dark green blue, bronze, aubergine or even pink. The price of a pearl depends on its size, shape and color. Tahitian black pearls are the diamonds of French Polynesia!

Pearl boutiques in The Islands of Tahiti

Tahiti is the best place in the world to buy authentic black pearls. We recommend that you visit several boutiques during your stay to decide on exactly what color, shape and size of pearl you want to purchase. You can find pearl boutiques in all the major hotels, on cruise ships and in the main tourist areas, such as Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora. You can also purchase directly from the producer at pearl farms in Huahine, Taha’a, the Tuamotu Islands and the Gambier Islands.

Huahine pearl bracelets
Huahine pearl bracelets © Teriitua Maoni

Pearl boutiques are the ideal place to find the Tahitian black pearl that is perfect for you. The price of pearls varies according to certain specific criteria, such as color, sheen, size, shape and whether the pearl is mounted or not. Black pearls are rare and therefore more expensive than other pearls. Ask for a certificate of authenticity when you make your purchase, to ensure that your pearls are of the highest quality.

Pearl farms in The Islands of Tahiti

Pearl farms naturally have a large choice of unmounted pearls on offer. The pearls of the very best quality are sold mounted on white or yellow 18 karat gold. Visitors can also purchase other pearls mounted on siver or even leather.

Pearl fillet
Pearl fillet © Tahiti Tourisme

To preserve the sheen of your Tahitian black pearl, never use chemical products such as perfume or lacquer to clean them. Instead, simply wipe them with warm water, adding a little soap if they’re badly stained, before rinsing thoroughly. Avoid contact with hard or abrasive surfaces which might scratch them. Pearls are perfectly happy when worn next to your skin.

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