Pearls offer an astonishing array of colors for everyone to love. From classic white Akoya pearls to jet black Tahitian pearls, silver and gold South Sea pearls and even deep shades of lavender to yes, even blue!
Use the Table of Contents below to navigate this article to view pictures and descriptions of the most common pearl colors.
Whether it’s the iconic white Akoya pearl, or glamorous white South Sea pearls, white pearls have been the “It Pearl” for literally centuries. Women and men have worn and loved white pearls because of their subtle elegance and versatility.
White Akoya pearls are the most popular white pearl type of all.
Cultured in Japan, China and sometimes Vietnam using the Pinctada fucata martensii saltwater oyster.Akoya pearls range in size from 2.0-3.0mm up to 9.0-9.5mm (and rarely 9.5-10.0mm).
Popular overtones are: Rose - warm to cool hint of pink (most popular), Silver - bright, cool white and Cream / Ivory - warm hint of French Vanilla
White Freshwater pearls are the second most popular white pearl type.
Cultured in China using the Hyriopsis cumingii pearl mussel, Freshwater pearls range in size from 2.0-3.0mm up to 11.0-12.0mm and sometimes larger.
Popular overtones are: Rose - warm to cool hint of pink, Silver - bright, cool white and Cream / Ivory - warm hint of French Vanilla.
White South Sea pearls are the third most popular pearl type - and the most expensive.
Cultured in Australia using the silver-lipped Pinctada maxima saltwater oyster, these luxurious pearls range in size from 8.0-9.0mm through 15.0-16.0mm and larger.
Popular overtones are: Rose - warm to cool hint of pink (and the most rare),Silver - bright, cool white (most prevalent) andCream / Ivory - warm hint of French Vanilla
Dark and exotic, black pearls have captured the imagination of men and women around the world for centuries. A hundred times more rare than white pearls, black pearls have been imbued with all kinds of mythical properties and lore.
Tahitian pearls are one of only two naturally-colored black pearls in the world.
Tahitian pearls are cultured in the Pinctada margaritifera saltwater pearl oyster in French Polynesia, and range in size from 8.0-9.0mm through 14.0-15.0mm and larger. The pearls feature primary body colors ranging from pale dove grey to dark charcoal grey to near jet black hues.
Popular overtones are: Peacock, Cherry, Blue-Green, Neutral Silver/Steel and more.
Sea of Cortez pearls are the only other naturally-colored "black" pearls in the world.
Cultured in Guyamas, Mexico, they're also the most rare cultured pearl type today. Sea of Cortez pearls are cultired in the Ptera sterna, the Rainbow-lipped saltwater oyster. Sea of Cortez pearls also feature primary body colors of pale to dark greys.
Overtones: unique to this pearl type include Blue-Green, Rose, Violet, Green, Gold, Mink, Mauve and more.
Black Akoya pearls are color-treated / dyed.
Cultured in Japan and China using the Pinctada fucata martensii saltwater oyster, Black Akoya pearls range in size from 6.0-6.5mm through 7.5-8.0mm. The pearls will always be sourced from AA+ Quality lots.Black Akoya pearls are easily distinguished by their near jet-black and very uniformly matched body colors.
Overtones are: Midnight Blue to Greenish Blue-Black.
Black Freshwater pearls are color-treated, usually dyed.
Cultured in China using the Hyriopsis cumingii pearl mussel, Freshwater pearls range in size from 6.0-7.0mm up to 8.0-9.0mm. Any quality Freshwater pearl can be selected for the color-treatment process, soyou'll find A-AAA Quality Black Freshwater pearls available.
Popular overtones are: Iridescent "Peacock", Blue-Green, Denim Blue, Violet and Copper
Opulent, luxurious and best of all, naturally colored, Golden South Sea pearls are some of the largest and rarest cultured pearls in the world. Ranging in color from pale Champagne to intense 24K golden hues, these cultured pearls hail from the tropical lagoons and atolls of the Philippine Islands and Australia.
Golden South Sea pearls with 14K Golden body colors are considered a "Medium-Tone" Golden hue.
Pearls featuring the 14K Medium-Deep Golden hue are among the most common body colors available today. Shimmering with Neutral Gold or Rose overtones, these Golden pearls look great on the largest array of complexions.
The 18K Golden Tone is considered a "Medium-Deep to Deep" Golden color.
Golden South Sea pearls with an 18K Golden hue is the color PurePearls.com stocks the most of.
The 22K to 24K Golden tone is a "Very Deep" natural Golden color.
Golden South Sea pearls featuring the 22K to 24K hues are the rarest and most valuable (all other factors being equal).
Champagne Golden South Sea pearls are very rare.
The Champagne color is a mix of very pale, 10K gold, Silver and Rose hues. It is a very light color, very unique and rare (and great for us blondes!).
Naturally colored pink to peach pearls are cultured in the Freshwater pearl mussel, Hyriopsis cumingii (along with various hybrid mussels bred to produce unique colors and sizes) in freshwater aquaculture ponds on China. Each Freshwater pearl mussel can be nucleated up to 25 times on each side of the shell, making for a stunningly colorful harvest.
Candy-colored Pink and Peach pearls are Freshwater pearls cultured in China, and are 100% natural.
They range from pale peach to apricot (orange-ish) to pale baby pinks and deeper true-pink hues. Silvery-pinks and mauves are also included in this gorgeous palette.
Pink Freshwater pearls range from pastel baby pinks to deeper hot pinks and corals.
Peach Freshwater pearls range from pale peaches to deeper orangey and apricot colors.
Naturally colored Lavender Freshwater pearls are cultured in the Freshwater pearl mussel, Hyriopsis cumingii. These large pearl mussels are bred and cared for in freshwater aquaculture ponds and lakes in China. Nucleated up to 25 times per each side of its shell, a Freshwater pearl harvest is a very colorful affair, yielding shades of Lavender, Pink, Peach and White pearl colors.
Delicate to deeper shades of Lavender are a natural color seen only in cultured Freshwater pearls from China.
The colors can present as pale lilac to silvery-purple to deeper lavender and do include mauve tones as well.
The deepest shades of Lavender Freshwater pearls are no-doubt-about purple colors.
These natural colors range from dark lilac to even deeper lavender hues. Typical overtones will be pastel Aquamarine, Silver and Rose.
The paler shades of Lavender range from a dirty-rose mauve color to pastel lilac.
Typical overtones will be pastel Green, Gold, Aquamarine or Rose.
Perhaps the rarest and most unique pearl color of them all, true blue pearls are one of the wonders of the world. Naturally blue-colored pearls come in astonishing array of hues from pastel Sky Blue to dark Midnight Blue colors, with an even wider array of dazzling overtones.
Naturally colored blue Akoya pearls feature blue body colors that range from silvery blue-grey to intense sky blue, and are farmed in Japan and Vietnam.
Tahitian pearls are not really "true" blue pearls, but black pearls that can display blue-hued overtones ranging from pale sky blue to intense blue-green or teal overtones.
Sea of Cortez pearls from Guyamas, Mexico are the rarest cultured pearls in the world.
As with Tahitian pearls, they are not "true" blue pearls, but can be black pearls with intensely saturated overtones ranging from aquamarine and blue-green to dark midnight blue (and all shades in between).
White South Sea pearls have an outstanding Silver-Blue color that’s very distinctive.
They are the largest of all blue colored pearl types, and feature the trademark "satin" luster of South Sea pearls.
Chocolate pearls became incredibly popular quite recently – designers such as Erica Courtney helped solidify their status as red carpet worthy gemstones. Chocolate Tahitian pearls can be naturally colored or dyed their trademark colors … Guess which ones we prefer.
The term ‘Multi-color’ refers to a layout design rather than a pearl color, and can be composed of Freshwater, Tahitian or South Sea pearl types.
Tahitian multi-color necklaces are mixes of very light and very dark grey body color pearls with a wide range of overtones.
The resulting necklaces can be very whimsical, artistic and beautiful. Due to the endless variety of color combinations and overtones, Multi-color Tahitian Pearl Necklaces are as unique as their owner - no two are ever exactly the same.
Multi-color South Sea Pearl Necklaces are traditionally mixes of White and Golden South Sea pearls.
Occasionally these Multi-color necklaces are mixed with Tahitians or even pastel Pink or Lavender Freshwater pearls for added whimsy or dramatic flair.
Freshwater Multi-color necklaces and bracelets feature a mix of White, Lavender and Pink or Peach pearls.
These layouts are arranged in various combinations. No two necklaces or bracelets are ever exactly the same!