Tahitian Pearls Buying Guide for Beginners

When we first think of pearls, usually the classic white pearls that adorn the necks of elegant and beautiful women cross our minds. However, pearls come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.

The Tahitian pearl, better known as black pearl, is among the most beautiful and exclusive pearls in the world. It’s a completely different piece of pearl jewelry and makes a fantastic impression. There are three types of black pearls and these include black Akoya pearls, black Freshwater pearls, and black Tahitian pearls they come in plenty of other colors which make them extremely unique. Because of their rare colors and shapes, the Tahitian pearls are described as mysterious, making them a desired piece of jewelry.

If you want to learn more about the Tahitian pearl, below we offer a Tahitian pearl buying guide so you can make a well-informed purchasing decision.

Colors and Size

As we mentioned above, the Tahitian pearl has very unique colors. It’s called a black pearl but it isn’t completely black. You can find many fine and unique colors ranging from shades of light silver to very dark and they usually come in sizes from 8 – 9 mm to 15 – 16 mm. Tahitian pearl necklaces have sizes ranging from 2 – 2.5 mm and the strands are called “graduated” since the pearls are graduating from small near the clasp and gradually increase to a bigger center section.

A common color can be described as peacock green after its beautiful display of colors but they’re also available in violet tones, sparkling steel gray to dark charcoal gray, and deep green color tones.

If you want a truly exclusive pearl, you should look a little extra at this particular variety. The Tahitian pearl is closely related to the South Sea pearl and belongs among the most exclusive pearls.

The Tahitian pearls come from the saltwater oyster Pinctada margaritifera originating in French Polynesia. It’s precisely the color in the mussel’s mother of pearl that determines which colors the pearls get.


Jewelry shoppers are usually amazed at the variety of pearl shapes of Tahitian pearls that are available. The rarest type of pearl is the perfectly round Tahitian pearl which accounts for less than 10% of each year’s harvests. It has symmetrical drops, buttons, baroque, circles, and more which make up the majority of pearls that are recovered each year.

The shape of these unique pearls can be broken into the following categories: round, semi-round, drop, baroque, circle, and free-from baroque.

Smooth and symmetrical drop-shaped Tahitian pearls can take the form of ovals, classical teardrops, and barrel shapes. Since they have so much variation, it’s hard to source perfectly matched drops for earrings or matched sets. Fine pearl jewelry featuring perfectly matches large drops can go for a premium price.

Value and Worth of Black Pearls

The real worth of Tahitian pearls depends on the color, size, luster, and surface quality. Since they have the most distinguished shade of black color and irregular shape, Tahitian are extremely rare to find, making them more valuable. In addition, the rounder the pearl is, the greater its value. The fact that they are really rare adds to their worth and makes them the most treasured type of pearls in the world.

Even though they are one of the most prestigious pearls, there are many affordable options available for you as a buyer. These options include the black Freshwater and Akoya pearls which are just as stunning as the Tahitian pearls. However, when you’re out buying black pearls, you should make sure that you’re buying the real kind. To ensure the authenticity of black pearls, always check for telltale signs if you’re unsure whether the pearls you want to buy are real or fake.

Tahitian Pearl Grading

When grading Tahitian pearl jewelry, usually the ‘A-AAAA’ Grading Scale is used. ‘A’ represents the lowest grades, whereas ‘AAAA’ has the best pearl quality available. This grading scale converts easily from the A-D Grading Scale that’s used on French Polynesia’s pearl farms and evaluates 7 major pearl attributes such as luster, surface quality (blemishing), symmetry of shape, matching, pearl size, color/overtone depth, and origin/cultured or natural.

Final Words

There’s nothing more timeless than pearl fashion and choosing to buy the extraordinary Tahitian pearls will give both a classic, yet cool and modern, look to your style.

Tahitian pearls are most beautiful when seen in real life and they cannot be fully described with either pictures or words. Whether they’re baroque or completely symmetrical, it’s the colors, which are often mirror-like shiny, or metallic, that make each Tahitian pearl unique. If you’re eager to buy these stunning black pearls, the above guide will fill you in on everything you need to know.