Pearls of Tahiti - Tahitian black pearls

Islands / Polynesia / Photoblog : Tahitian black pearls

Pearls of Tahiti - Tahitian black pearls
Pearls of Tahiti - Tahitian black pearls
Pearls of Tahiti - Tahitian black pearls
Pearls of Tahiti - Tahitian black pearls

Natural pearls are 100% nacre. It is thought that natural pearls form under a set of accidental conditions when a microscopic intruder or grain of sand enters an oyster (or other mollusk) and settles inside the shell. The oyster, being irritated by the intruder, secretes the pearl substance called nacre to cover the irritant. This process is repeated for many years, thus producing a pearl.

The unique lustre of pearls depends upon the reflection and refraction of light from the translucent layers and is finer in proportion as the layers become thinner and more numerous. The iridescence that some pearls display is caused by the overlapping of successive layers, which breaks up light falling on the surface. Tahitian pearls are usually black, sometimes with a creamy or pinkish tinge, but may be tinted with yellow, green, blue, brown, or purple.

The pearls of Tahiti are sorted according to an official classification which takes into account their shape and size as well as how many surface imperfections there are, and where they appear. There are also more subtle criteria like brilliance and shine.

Pictures from [perle-de-tahiti.com] Black Tahitian Pearls Workshop - Online Store (Taaroa workshop, Moorea French Polynesia)

Pearls of Tahiti - Tahitian black pearls