The visual appeal of Tahitian pearls with saturated range of shimmering colors and distinctiveness has made it highly coveted gem. The main primary surface color ranges from dark charcoal grey to dove grey, which gets its brilliance and shimmer from overtones like silvers, aquamarines, cherries, aubergine and natural chocolaty.

Besides color, it is the black pearl luster that is a little soft than the Japanese Akoya. To check the difference between Akoya’s ball-bearing luster and Tahitian’s ‘satin luster’, you can look at here. These pearls can display metallic luster level along with highly detailed reflection that are very crisp and sharp on the surface.

Science behind Tahitian pearls visual phenomenon

Just like all the different kinds of cultured pearls, the visual occurrence of surface color, undertones and luster is because of the compactness and silkiness of their translucent nacre layers. During the culturing process, round bead nucleus gets introduced into the host oyster’s gonad, which starts to cover this bead with concentric nacre layers. This eventually turns into a pearl.

  • Nacre – When a bead nucleus gets implanted in the oysters, its soft inner body feels irritated and starts to produce nacre layers, eventually pearl gets created.
  • CaCoɜ – Nacre is CaCoɜ, which is made of aragonite platelets. Conchiolin is organic glue scattered between layers for holding the aragonite platelets together.

Tahitian pearl layers

Conchiolin in Tahitian pearl has dark pigments like black, grey, brown, and reddish-brown. This is the reason that the solid primary color ranges from dove gray to dark charcoal gray. The oysters take a couple of years to form a healthy pearl with thick nacre layering that allows light to penetrate the different layers, reflect and refracts light from its surface. The intense luster and deep color depend on the compactness and tightness of nacre layers.

  • Young oyster – Due to their rapid metabolic rate crystalline layering process is fast and nacre formation is tight. First generation Tahitian pearls are cultured using young oysters.
  • Old oyster – Due to age, their metabolism slows down along with its nacre layering rate and crystalline platelets tightness. Thus, the pearls harvested are larger and display more silver and steel overtones with satin luster. Large Tahitian pearls are cultivated as old oysters can deal with large bead nuclei.

Tahitian pearls of any kind of shapes are graded on specific benchmark including color, luster, shape symmetry, and surface quality.