Tahitian Pearls: History, Symbolism, & How They Get Their Colour

Tahitian South Sea pearls are considered to be the second most valuable commercially farmed pearls in the world. Hand-selected for their natural beauty and individual character, each Linneys pearl is of genuine quality, carefully chosen for you upon the five principals of virtue: Lustre, colour, complexion, shape and size. Beautiful, unusual and rare, these pearls make a statement however they are worn.

What are Tahitian Pearls?

Tahitian south sea pearl

Tahitian South Sea pearls are grown in the Black-lipped oyster, Pinctada Margaritifer, and although these pearls are often referred to as black, they actually display a remarkable colour range, demonstrating hues from light, creamy white and grey, to deep greens, aubergines and dense blacks. Their sheen often reflects a spectrum of colours, both captivating and intriguing. 

From stunning free form rings to statement pendants, eye-catching earrings to bespoke cufflinks, the vibrant hues and lustre of these incredible pearls create talk points whenever they are seen.


The history of these pearls indicates they were not highly valued in the past, in fact, there is little mention of them in historical writings. They first start to appear in documents the 1800s, and also make an appearance in royal jewellery collections around this time. Interestingly, although Tahitian pearls are thought by many to be solely a product of Tahiti, this isn’t entirely accurate. Tahiti is the commercial centre and trading hub for the bulk of the industry, although Tahiti does not have any pearl farms located on the island.

Tahitian Pearls: Symbolism and Meaning

Tahitian pearl earrings

Tahitian Pearls were often worn by royalty and the upper classes, earning them the nick-name ‘Queen of Pearls’.  Because of this, legends around the meaning and symbolism of these incredible pearls grew thick and fast. Here are some of the most long-lasting associations:

  1. Wealth and Prosperity: Due to their rarity, black pearls have always symbolized wealth and prosperity.
  2. Wisdom: According to Chinese folklore, natural Tahitian pearls symbolize wisdom, and as such, gifting a black pearl is gifting wisdom.
  3. Everlasting Love: Legend has it that Oro, a Polynesian god of fertility and peace, gifted a black pearl to his love – making a Tahitian pearl the perfect choice for your partner.
  4. Protection: It’s said that these pearls ward off evil spirits.

Why choose Linneys for your Tahitian Pearl jewellery?

Our award-winning jewellers’ experience, skill and expertise in selecting only the highest quality pieces ensures when you purchase your pearl from Linneys, you are acquiring a piece of timeless style and sophistication. Our pearls are individually selected by our specialists and only the best pieces pass our rigorous quality control.

Linneys offer an extensive range of handcrafted jewellery featuring premium quality, hand selected Australian South Sea and Tahitian South Sea pearls in Perth. We also offer the unique opportunity to select your own pearl for a bespoke design, to be created in our Subiaco Studio from premium materials.

Contact us for more information regarding Tahitian Pearls.