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Characteristics of the Tahitian pearl

Quality

Tahitian cultured pearls are classified according to five level of quality. Perfect pearls are very rare.

Top gem perfect pearl, extremely rare and with an excellent luster
A extremely smooth and nearly a perfect pearl with a very high luster and with no surface flaws or very slight ones visible to the naked eye and confined to less than 10 % of its surface
B pearl with a high or medium luster and with some flaws visible to the naked eye and spread over less than 30 % of its surface
C pearl with a medium quality luster with  flaws over 30 % of its surface
D pearl with a weak quality luster and with flaws over 60 % of its surface

Shape

Tahitian cultured pearls are classified according to five basic shapes:

Round most sought-after pearl that looks like an almost-perfect sphere and whose diameter variation rate is less than 2 %
Semi-round pearl with a slightly imperfect sphere and whose diameter fluctuates between 2 % and 5 %
Baroc pearl with irregular and asymmetrical shapes
Semi-baroc pearl with some irregular shapes that can be classified in three categories: drop, pear and oval
Circled pearl with some regular rings over 30 % of its surface.

Colour

Although Tahitian pearls come naturally from colored cultured pearls, most of people keep calling them “Black Pearls”. Furthermore each pearl is as unique as its color, that’s why it is impossible to find perfectly identical pearls.

A pearl can have silvery, gilded, pinkish, bluish, purplish or greenish sheen. Dark pink and metallic green sheen are the most sought-after colors.
The color of a pearl depends on several criteria:

  • the pearl oyster
  • the quality of the mother-pearl
  • the environment in which the pearl is harvested
  • the color of the transplanted organ with the nucleus.

 

Diameter

The diameter of a pearl generally ranges from 8 mm to 14 mm. However, some exceptional pearls can reach up to 20 mm.

The Tahitian pearl can reach an amazing size in comparison with other categories of pearls (apart from the Australian ones that have really big sizes).

Luster

The luster is the degree of reflection and refraction of light on the surface of the pearl.

Weight

The weight of a pearl is expressed in grams.

Orient

The orient of a pearl is the play of light that appears on the surface of the pearl. It changes according to the layers of calcium carbonate (aragonite) accumulated on the surface of the pearl.