When we think of pearls, we often think about beautiful white or cream coloured pearls. In reality pearls occur in a variety of colours and shapes. Unlike its white and cream brothers and sisters, a black pearl carries a mysterious energy with them. Therefore, these rare, black gems are fast becoming a popular and sought-after piece in the jewellery market.
The Origin of Black Pearls
Natural black pearls are only found in French Polynesia around the island of Tahiti. Therefore, the official name for this pearl is the Tahitian black pearl.
Pearls consist of layers of nacre, which is also found on the inside of the shell of mollusks. The black pearl is formed only by the black oyster called Pinctada Margaritifera. They occur because the mollusk gets irritated, for example by sea snails that attack the oyster and damage its shell and skin. The skin will then divide and form a pearl sac. The black pearl gets its black color of the organic pigment that is only present in this species. This breeding takes an average of 3 to 5 years but nowadays they are also regularly copied in the lab. The French Polynesian population used to dive for the nacre in the shell and used the pearls as money.
Black vs white pearls
Black pearls are much rarer than white pearls, this is because the black pearls can only be created by one species of shellfish. The white pearl can be created by three different species. Since the last century, scientists have discovered a certain mechanism through which they can stimulate shellfish, which helps pearls form faster. The white pearls are also transformed into black pearls with paint, chemicals, or laser treatments.
Looking to buy a ring made with black pearl? We love the Vieri the Pearl Ring Dark!