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The Tahitian cultured pearl has been in the jewelry marketplace only 30 years. These big, colorful pearls look much different than the smaller white Akoya cultured pearl. Tahitian cultured pearls occur in shades of black, brown, gray, blue, green and purple. They also have gorgeous overtones that give Tahitian cultured pearls an incredible beauty all their own.

Tahitian pearls aren’t found in Tahiti. Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia but the pearl culturing farms are found on other islands in the territory, which is located in the South Pacific. The pearls are found in a bivalve mollusk called the black-lipped oyster that is native to French Polynesia The inside edges and edges of the mantle of this oyster are black.

It is found from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of California. In nature, the black-lipped oyster can live up to 30 years, grows up to a foot in diameter and weighs up to 1 pounds During the years it produces pearls, ages 3 to 7 the black-lipped oyster is usually between 6 and 8 inches in diameter, which often results in much larger-than-average pearls. The pearls are unique because of their natural dark colors. Most "black" Tahitian pearls are not actually black, but are instead gray, silver, charcoal, or similar shades. Truly black pearls are extremely rare.

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