The world of pearls offers a rich variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Traditionally, the mention of pearls has always conjured up images of perfectly round, white or creamy little balls, possibly strung on a thread to adorn the neck or set in metal to make a bracelet or a pair of earrings. In recent years, however, public imagination has become wider. Today, pearls of a different color (and shape and size) are not as uncommon as they have been before. Thanks to the proliferation of pearl culturing and harvesting, newer kinds of pearls are becoming available in greater numbers to pearl lovers the world over.
Speaking of unconventional pearls, one can’t help but mention the black variant. Commonly referred to as black pearls, this unique variety enjoys a very distinctive place in the realm of pearls due to its striking appearance. What is interesting to note in this regard is that black pearls need not be necessarily black always. They can be of very dark shades of other colors, discernible only upon close inspection. Black pearls are formed by a special class of black-lipped oysters that secrete black nacre and give rise to their unique color. However, black pearls are not of a dull monochromatic nature. Instead, they radiate other colors of the spectrum when viewed from different angles. In fact, he so-called black pearls may sometimes look green, pink, lavender or blue, depending on what angle you may be looking at it. It is due to this changeable metal luster that they are considered such a prized possession by those who happen to own them.
Black pearls have always been present. However, in earlier times when pearls were only available in their natural form, the black variant was something of a rarity. In recent years, however, controlled harvesting techniques have made them more easily available and in greater numbers too. This has also led to a drop in their prices so that more buyers can easily afford them. Currently, two of the important natural habitats of black pearls are the Tahiti Island of Polynesia (which produces 95% of the black pearls in the world) and Cook Island (responsible for the remaining 5%). Since the development of pearl culture technology, the black pearl oyster found in Tahiti and other Pacific Island areas has been extensively used for producing cultured pearls. Over 99.9% of the black pearls sold on the market today are cultured. Natural black pearls are too rare to find, so don’t expect to find them in your local jewelry store.