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The Myth and Mystique of a Black Pearl Necklace

The Delusion and Mystique of a Black Pearl Necklace


Since recorded historical past, man has coveted the luminous white gems we name pearls. Revered the world over for his or her uncommon magnificence, otherworldly sheen and understated magnificence, pearls are as widespread in trendy society as they had been with European royals and Egyptian princesses centuries in the past. At this time, pearl jewelry connoisseurs have a brand new love: black pearls. Unique, luxurious and uncommon, a wealthy black pearl necklace presents a hanging picture–the gems positively lack the demure, chaste picture of their traditional white counterparts. For the lady who has all the pieces, a black pearl necklace, whether or not showcased alone in a pendant or in a superbly matched strand, makes an exquisite addition to her jewelry assortment. Consider how beautiful a black pearl necklace will look on any pores and skin tone!

The place do jewelers get the pearls they use in a matched black pearl necklace?

“Black” pearls are also referred to as “Tahitian cultured pearls,” however each names are deceptive. Not solely are Tahitian cultured pearls not completely black, they’re additionally not grown in Tahiti. Known as “black” due to their unique darkish colours, Tahitian cultured pearls could be grey, blue, inexperienced and brown. And so they’re grown within the lagoons of small islands which are a part of a gaggle referred to as French Polynesia. Tahiti, the biggest island, serves because the group’s middle of commerce, and never as a pearl rising mecca. Apparently, fantastic Tahitian cultured pearls have solely been in the marketplace because the Nineteen Seventies. But they’ve turn out to be fairly widespread in that quick time.

Rising Tahitian pearls

Tahitian pearls are cultivated for round two years in Pinctada margaritifera cumingi, a big saltwater mollusk that’s native to French Polynesia. One of many methods this distinctive oyster differs from different species is that its inside shell coloration is darkish. This so-called “black lipped” oyster additionally has black mantle edges–the “lips” that give the animal its descriptive identify. Attributable to overfishing, grownup wild oyster populations aren’t as plentiful as they was once. In an effort to reverse this pattern, the federal government protects the animals; pearl farmers in French Polynesia who want to tradition the black lipped oyster should increase the oysters from spat (child oysters). If the farmer is profitable in nurturing the spat to maturity, at round two and a half to 3 years previous, the oysters are implanted with mantle tissue and a mother-of-pearl bead to begin the pearl rising course of. This delicate operation is carried out by specifically skilled employees referred to as nucleators; even so, in keeping with the Gemological Institute of America, greater than 50 % of the oysters die or reject the nucleus.

Literature from GIA says, “Add those oysters to the ones that don’t meet the implantation criteria: The farmer’s potential pearl-producing stock is less than half the number that lived long enough to be considered for nucleation. When the pearl growth period begins, after three years of work, the farmer has only 20 percent of the oysters he collected as spat.” No marvel a fantastic high quality Tahitian cultured pearl is so uncommon!

Tahitian pearl progress typically takes place in a closed lagoon that’s ringed by coral reefs. Such a setup presents safety and a secure surroundings for the implanted oysters to finish the pearl-growing course of. After the oysters have been submerged for 22 to 26 months, they’re hauled to the floor, the place any pearls they managed to develop are harvested. The farmers then clear and frivolously buff the gems previous to providing them on the market. Farmers additionally kind the pearls by coloration, form, and many others. and grouped with like pearls.

Ultimately, just one to 2 % of the Tahitian cultured pearl crop consists of fantastic high quality spherical cultured pearls.


At this time, probably the most sought-after Tahitian cultured pearls are darkish green-gray to blue grey with rosé or purple overtones. However how do pearls get their coloration? Nobody is totally certain, however we do know that pearl colours are decided by a number of components, together with variations within the host oyster, coloration variation of the implanted donor mussel tissue, the quantity and thickness of nacre layers, and variations in rising surroundings akin to temperature and water high quality. Tahitian pearls are most frequently variations of grey, black, inexperienced and blue, however different colours exist. Search on the Web for Tahitian cultured pearl photos, and you will notice they don’t seem to be all black!

Shopping for a black pearl necklace

At a median dimension of 8mm-14mm, Tahitian cultured pearls–especially these specimens which are gem-quality and round–are very costly. (GIA estimates that one first-quality, unusually giant Tahitian cultured pearl will set you again hundreds of {dollars}!) If just one to 2 % of the harvest produces a fantastic high quality spherical Tahitian cultured pearl, think about how lengthy it takes to make a matched strand! No marvel a black pearl necklace is so pricey. Select rigorously, conserving in thoughts that pearls with a fascinating overtone (secondary coloration) and pearls which are bigger than typical will likely be dearer. Search for pearls which are well-matched, not pitted or marked in any apparent method (minor floor traits are acceptable). You should definitely examine return insurance policies up entrance, too, in case you might have an issue. Ask your retail jeweler for his or her retailer coverage or, if shopping for on-line, examine the positioning’s assure prior to creating a purchase order. When you obtain your pearls, remember to study them carefully. After carrying, retailer your pearl necklace away from different gems; whereas pretty sturdy, pearls are susceptible to scratching and their nacre will erode over time, particularly if uncovered to harsh chemical substances like bleach, fragrance and chlorine.

Black pearl necklaces in trendy trend

Though sluggish to catch on at first, thanks partially to publicity from stars akin to actress Elizabeth Taylor, a famend jewelry collector who wore a hanging black pearl necklace in publicity pictures for her Black Pearls fragrance launch, Tahitian cultured pearls are wildly widespread in the present day. It isn’t onerous to seek out examples of fantastic black pearl jewelry in trendy society. Go searching and you may see black pearl necklaces on everybody from businesswomen to mothers to Hollywood A-list actresses, fashions and celebrities. Take Kiera Knightly, for instance, who wore a surprising black baroque Tahitian cultured pearl choker on the premier of her film, The Black Pearl. Stars like Christy Turlington, Naomi Watts, Heidi Klum, Michael Michelle, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Shalom Harlow are additionally pearl followers.

Maybe black pearls’ reputation is why designers like David Yurman, Elsa Peretti and Paloma Picasso (for Tiffany & Co.) are incorporating gorgeous black pearls, and even black baroque and black keshi pearls, into trendy designs like lengthy chain necklaces, brooches, chokers and allure bracelets. Black pearl drop earrings and pendants are additionally favorites, as they require little matching–or none in any respect. Whimsical designs on cufflinks and in widespread frog, dragonfly and different animal pins incorporate black pearls as effectively.

Black pearl necklace options

When most individuals consider black pearl jewelry, they naturally consider Tahitian cultured pearls. However costs are excessive for these uncommon gems, partially as a consequence of their giant dimension, uncommon colours, and the excessive price of manufacturing them. If you wish to put on actual Tahitian cultured pearls, a method to take action with out breaking the financial institution is to decide on a pendant-style necklace with a single pearl; black pearl stud earrings; a single black pearl ring, or black baroque (non-symmetrical) pearls. These designs are each bit as unique but far more inexpensive than a matched black pearl strand.

For patrons for whom Tahitian pearl jewelry is past attain, there are some cheap but lovely options to the traditional black pearl necklace. At this time, freshwater pearls–round, drop, button and baroque–are color-treated to provide a glance that carefully resembles the hue of Tahitian cultured pearls. The natural-looking result’s lovely and appears nice in such items as a baroque black pearl bracelet, black pearl drop earrings or black pearl necklace. Each bit as actual as their Tahitian cousins, black freshwater cultured pearls’ coloration is man-made, however take into account that almost all pearls are handled in some way (bleaching is the commonest enhancement).

In the event you’re after not solely the colour however the dimension of fantastic Tahitian pearls, think about a black “pearl” necklace comprised of black mother-of-pearl beads. Their beneficiant dimension, lustrous sheen and inexpensive value make them a preferred different to a fantastic Tahitian pearl necklace.


Supply by Amy Drescher

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