Sunday, June 5, 2011


Black pearls, Tahitian pearls... exotic names for a unique natural treasure which can be found in the turquoise waters of Tahiti and her islands: the legendary poe rava, born from the sea only to please the kings and queens of Polynesia.

As Pearls are the official birthstone of the month of June (as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912), it is only natural that my first post of the month be dedicated to this gem from the ocean.

Black pearls, symbol of chic and refinement

A symbol of mystery, grace and beauty, pearls can be surprising, enchanting, sensual, seducing, delicate and exotic, like the women wearing them. Throughout times, the timeless refinement and chic of Tahitian pearls have seduced royalty, celebrities and fashion icons throughout the world. 

Black pearls are black, right?

WRONG! Pearls are not actually black; they come in every colors one can imagine and capture the iridescence of colors of the rainbow, which could explain the legends that says that pearls originate from the meeting of the rainbow with the earth (Irish legend I wonder?)...Pearls can be dark grey, light grey, green, blue, purple, pink, even gold. The chromatic spectrum is amazing and one can spend hours deciding whether they prefer the aubergine (purplish black), peacock (greenish black), lavender (bluish black), silver (grey), champagne (yellowish grey), orient grey (surface iridescence), Tahitian gold (golden black) or the pink luminescent.

Tahitian pearls, tourism and shopping

From the sea to the jewel

You can visit the numerous jewelers on the islands or even the market in Tahiti and decide whether to go for a jewel or for a loose pearl. In doubt, a long pearl strand is always a safe bet ladies.

While you are here, don't just buy a pearl, take the opportunity to visit the pearl farms of the Tuamotu or Gambier islands, it will be a great opportunity to learn about how pearls are born and then collected.

If you are in Papeete, make sure you visit the Robert Wan Pearl Museum for a bit of history.

A trip to Tahiti would be incomplete without a black pearl in your suitcases, yet choosing the right one can be tricky...indeed those unfamiliar with black pearls think they all look the same. It's like saying all diamonds are the same. Pearls are mineral gems produced by oysters (Pinctada margaritifera) - Te Ufi in Tahiti - as a result of their natural defense system against any foreign intruder. As such, each pearl is unique and differs from the others in terms of diameter; luster, shape, surface purity and color. 

The Tahitian pearls are world renowned, indeed, the queen of pearls or pearl of queens has long attracted the most beautiful women as well as some of the most famous jewelers around the world who celebrate the beauty of this gem and the islands where they are born, from Cartier , Van Cleef & Arpels, Mikimoto, etc.

Men and black pearls

Pearls are becoming increasingly popular among the male population and entire jewelry line are now dedicated to men, so no excuses gentlemen, you may also find something for yourselves!

and wait 'til you hear about the legends behind pearls, you'll definitely want to lay your hands on a couple, or more.

Symbolism, myths and legends throughout the world:

No matter the culture or country, the legend or the myth, pearls have always been associated with great virtues. Pearls are thought to offer the power of love, money, protection and luck, to give wisdom through experience and to cement engagements and love relationships. 

The Greeks and the Romans thought that pearls are born from rain or dewdrops collected by oysters; according to Persian mythology, pearls are the tears of the gods, whereas to the ancient chinese, pearls originate from the moonlight.

In ancient Greece, pearls were the symbol of love and marriage; wearing them was thought to promote marital bliss and prevent newlywed women from weeping. To date, pearls are often the best choice of gifts to brides at weddings or given for the 1st, 3rd, 12th and 30th wedding anniversaries.

The Arabic legend says: Dewdrop fallen from the sky on a fullmoon night take into the deep sea a bit of the wonderful light from the star that counts our time.

According to a legend in Ceylan, the tears shed by Adam and Eve created a lake: in this lake, white and pink pearls were born from Eve's tears and the more precious and rare grey and black pearls were born from Adam's tears.

In ancient Lore, wearing black pearls helped you know yourself and become prosperous. Blue Shades help you find love. Gold tones bring wealth while pink tones will earn you fame and fortune.

When I was looking for a lucky charm and asked a friend of mine what, in Polynesian culture, was considered to be a symbol of luck,  she told me I should find a pearl and keep it close to me. When I told her I already had several pearl jewels, she said that the pearl should be perfect and un-pierced. Indeed in Polynesian culture, pearls have always been associated with purity, perfection and power. 

An ancient Polynesian legend has it that Oro, god of war and peace, came down to earth riding a rainbow and fell in love with the princess of Bora Bora. As a token of his love, her gave her the first pearl produced by Te Ufi.

1 comment:

  1. Do you know of any legends or beliefs about pearls? Please share with us!



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