The Tahitian pearl is a jewel of great value, rare and therefore exceptional. It belongs to the local cultural heritage and is above all a souvenir from Tahiti for those who have experienced the beauty of the islands. Our tips for finding the pearl of your dreams.
What Is a Tahitian Pearl?
A Little History
The black pearl is linked to French Polynesia. Its beauty and luster now enhance the most sought-after jewelry sets. However, this reputation remains fairly recent and is not entirely in keeping with Polynesian tradition.
The Polynesians knew pearl oysters and had different uses for pearls. It was the European colonizers who established pearl farming in the local landscape, especially from the second half of the 20th century.
The pearl is a new cultural object and cannot compete with other stronger symbols of identity, such as the Tiare flower and the Tahitian Vahine. Of course, this brief reminder does not detract from the beauty of Tahitian pearls.
What Do Tahitian Pearls Look Like?
Tahitian pearls are not black but silver, blue or green with different shades. Moreover, they are rarely round. Their surfaces are irregular, often asymmetrical and of various shapes. As for the size, most have an average diameter of 10 mm.
Therefore, pearl farming consists in erasing imperfections in order to obtain high quality pearls. It takes several years to harvest an exceptional pearl. It is precisely the length of the process and the painstaking work in the pearl farms that explain the high cost at the sale.
Where Are Tahitian Pearls Grown Today?
Tahitian pearls come from all over French Polynesia, especially from the Tuamotu archipelago and the Gambier Islands. Intended mainly for export, they bear the name of Tahiti, thus benefiting from a stronger international resonance. The stakes are both economic and cultural.
Pearls are a brand image of Tahiti and her islands. As a result, production regulations are very strict in order to guarantee optimal quality. Thus, pearls with too many imperfections are forbidden for sale and each pearl is delivered with a certificate of authenticity.
What is the Price of a Tahitian Pearl?
The price of a Tahitian pearl depends on several factors. First, its color: the darker the pearl, the higher its price. Then comes the size: depending on the diameter, the cost increases. Pearls with a diameter greater than 14 mm are naturally more expensive. Then, the luster of the pearl namely its sparkle. The nacre layer also determines the value of the pearl.
In addition to these factors, the shape of the pearl and the perfection of its surface. Indeed, most Tahitian pearls are slightly oval, ringed or elongated. Finally, you can choose a bare pearl or one that is set in jewelry.
In the end, a very good quality bare pearl costs about $90. The price can exceed $1000 for exceptional pearls in the Top Gem category.
Where to Find the Best Tahitian Pearls?
We recommend that you buy your pearls directly from the pearl farms. This will give your purchase a very special flavor. This is especially true since most offer tours of their facilities.
The price of pearls may seem higher than elsewhere. However, these are artisanal jewelry stores, not souvenir stores. The pearls are controlled and certified high quality products.
Huahine Pearl Farm
Combining pearl farming and pottery, the Huahine Pearl Farm & Pottery welcomes you in a beautiful natural setting in the middle of the lagoon. From the village of Faie, a Polynesian pirogue will take you to the port. The price of pearls is very reasonable. Huahine Pearl Farm is an intimate and unmissable address in French Polynesia.
How to Find the Huahine Pearl Farm & Pottery?
Raiatea Pearl Farm
Even more intimate, the Raiatea Pearl offers you a journey off the southern part of the island. Time has stopped here and it is with simplicity and conviviality that you will be initiated to the work of the pearl. The pearls are of very good quality and sold at a very good price. Living such an experience is in itself a wonderful memory.
How to Find the Raiatea Pearl?
Rangiroa Pearl Farm
While visiting the atoll of Rangiroa, be sure to visit Gauguin’s Pearl Farm on the motu Tiputa. The Tuamotu archipelago is indeed famous for the beauty and quality of its pearls. As such, Gauguin’s Pearl Farm is an institution in the pearl world. Moreover, its staff is very educational during the guided tours.
How to Find Gauguin’s Pearl Farm?
Good Addresses in Tahiti, Moorea & Bora Bora
Many stores specialize in the pearl trade in Papeete and on the islands of Moorea and Bora Bora. Take the time to compare prices and quality of pearls. In any case, always ask for a certificate of authenticity. Furthermore, it is preferable to have your pearl jewel mounted on site to save time and to benefit from expert hands.
We can recommend several quality addresses: the Manapearl Tahiti in Papeete, the Pearl Romance in Moorea, and the Arc-En-Ciel in Bora Bora. Note that most of the pearls come from the farms mentioned above and are therefore of excellent quality.
How Many Tahitian Pearls Can You Bring Back From Your Trip?
According to current regulations, each person is allowed to bring back ten bare pearls and up to 49 pearls if they are mounted. Beyond that, travelers will have to pay customs fees. It is therefore essential to keep the certificates of authenticity for the traceability of your purchase.
The Tahitian pearl is the image of French Polynesia: mysterious and fascinating. What is the cost of a trip to Tahiti? Don’t wait any longer. Contact us to organize your activities in Tahiti and elsewhere.