One of the most important factors considered to determine the value of a pearl is its color. Pearls have a wide variety of colors, ranging from white to green or dark blue and even black. Since the pearl is an organic gem formed by Mother Nature, the color combinations are countless.

pearl types tahitian

The color of a pearl depends on several factors

  • The Base Color: It can be white, silver, cream, gold, green, blue or even almost black. The question is where does this base color come from? For a fact, the pearl takes its color from the inside of an oyster. Therefore, the base color depends on the type of mollusk. This is why Tahitian pearls tend to be black for example.

  • The strokes: Are the translucent colors that sometimes appear above the base color. These strokes tend to be on top of the base color. Some are pink others are green, but some pearls might not have any strokes at all.

  • The orient: we’re talking about the iridescent colors that appear and sparkle whenever you move the pearl around. The surrounding lights also have an influence on the orient of a pearl, whether it is sunlight or artificial light. It is mainly the result of the last layer of nacre produced on the pearl.

It is important to note that many pearls are artificially colored and mainly in Freshwater. Pearls are artificially colored by adding a layer of varnish or by being irradiated. For an expert it is easy to tell the difference by looking at the drill hole to see if a layer of polish has been added or if the core has been irradiated.

An undeniable principle is to consider that only Tahitian pearls are black. If you are in the presence of an Akoya pearl or a black freshwater pearl, it is because it has undergone a special treatment. Only the black-lipped oyster (Margaritifera de Pinctada) can produce black pearls.


Source:  GIA (Gemological Institute of America)

Today the freshwater pearl farmers have succeeded in producing pearls of different colors such as lavender or peach and they’re still Natural. The first to operate in this direction were the Japanese in the 30’s in the last century, the pearls came from the lake of Biwa which today does not produce pearls at all because of overproduction.