November 04, 2018

Biggest Differences Between Black Freshwater, Akoya, and Tahitian Pearls

Black Busts
Most black pearls are dyed or irradiated that color, the only naturally colored black pearls are our black Tahitians and our Sea of Cortez pearls which are technically called “black” but are really extremely colorful! 
come from the Pincatada margaritifera, black-lipped saltwater pearl oyster, which produces pearls that come in shade of light dove grey to dark charcoal grey. The pearls also often display a range of overtones such as Peacock, Blue-Green, Green, Silver, Copper, Cherry and more. They’re also much larger in size than the other popular black pearl varieties, ranging in size from 8.0 mm up through 16.0 mm or larger. Check out this picture below for a good visual on what typical Tahitian pearls look like in person. Notice the iridescence, color play and shimmer – gorgeous, right?
Price Range: $400 – $20,000.00 and up.
silver blue tahitian
Tahitian pearls feature a wide variety of body colors and overtones, and are much, much more diverse in color than the black Akoya or black Freshwater pearl types.
These are dyed or irradiated pearls from China. These are pearls that are grown in the Hyriopsis cumingii Freshwater pearl mussel, found in man-made lakes, ponds and rivers. Sizes typically range from 6.0-7.0 mm up to 10.0 mm but can also grow larger to 12.0 mm rarely. All of our black Freshwater pearls are dyed black rather than irradiated. The dyeing process takes a few days to complete, and basically involves soaking the half or fully-drilled pearls in the black dye solution until it penetrates all the nacre layers. The results can be colorful and highly iridescent, or solid black colors, depending on the type of dye used. Because we prefer to have our pearls visually differentiated from each other, we select the black pearls with a higher rate of iridescence. The colors range from a denim blue to violet to blue-green or copper, and some are a mix of all the colors listed together. The photo below shows the most traditional colors for black Freshwater we stock.
Price Range: $60 – $1,500.00 and up.
Tahitian Black

Smaller in size, but with a nice range of color, black Freshwater pearls can be a nice, affordable black pearl alternative to Tahitian pearls.

Black Akoya Pearls are also dyed, but the dye most often selected for these pearls turns the pearls a solid blue-black or greenish-black color with little to no iridescence. The pearls are perfectly round in shape, with very little variation from pearl to pearl throughout a strand, so to me can end up looking a little ‘plastic-y’ or more like beads rather than pearls, but they’re still pretty in their own way. Many people appreciate their uniformity and near Jet-Black hues with just the faintest tinges of Midnight Blue or Greenish Blue Black color that shines through in certain lighting conditions.
Akoya pearls are saltwater pearls grown in the Pinctada fucata martensii saltwater pearl oyster, which is farmed in mainly Japan, China and most recently Vietnam. They typically range in size from 5.5 mm to 9.5 mm, although rarely sizes of 10.0 mm are grown. The pearls chosen to undergo the dyeing process are usually pearls that are lacking in luster or have some other type of imperfection making them less suitable for commercial jewelry use. Take a look at this picture below showing what a typical black Akoya pearl necklace looks like.
Price Range: $80 – $500.00 and up.
Akoya Black Pearls
Black Akoya pearls typically display a Midnight Blue overtone, with very dark, near-jet black body color.

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