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Tahitian Black Pearls

Listed under Original Gifts in French Polynesia.

  • Photo of Tahitian Black Pearls
  • Photo of Tahitian Black Pearls
  • Photo of Tahitian Black Pearls
Photo of Tahitian Black Pearls
Photo by flickr user clesenne
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A pearl created naturally is a rare and magical item; to its living mollusc host, it is a protective barrier against a tiny irritant within the shell, and to the human race, it is a gem prized above all others, with a history of royal and symbolic association stretching back to ancient times.

The black pearls of Tahiti have been prized over others for centuries for their exceptional beauty and rarity; they come from a specific species of black-lipped oyster, and vary from steel grey to palest silver, with a petroleum lustre of peacock blue, aubergine, deep green, baby pink, gold or all five across their smooth, iridescent surfaces. Round ones are the rarest of all, and overfishing and pollution have rendered them almost impossible to discover. It can take between fifteen and twenty years for an oyster to generate a pearl one centimetre in diameter, and it is regarded as a criminal act to fish for natural pearls in some parts of the world today.

Tahitian black pearls occur naturally about once in every 10,000 oysters and to fish for them deliberately is illegal. However, pearls from the French Polynesian black-lipped oyster are successfully cultured in Tahiti and can be purchased loose from small suppliers, as well as set in jewellery. Taaroa Bijoux is one such company; it is run by a Tahiti-based jewellery designer who sources her pearls from her husband’s oyster farm in the Tuamotu atolls, and sells them at her workshop in Rangiroa, at a boutique in Moorea, and online.

Available online here.

Written by  larapiegeler.

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