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Black Cultured Pearls v Natural Black Pearls
by: Anonymous

Good Morning Ursula

this is a very sentimental pearl. And whatever the colour it will always remain a sentimental pearl:-)

Black Tahitian Pearls are the newbies in cultivated bead nucleated pearls. Natural Black pearls from the black-lipped P. Margaritifera oyster were part of Polynesian culture and legend long before European explorers first arrived in the 16th century. After the Marquesas Islands became a French protectorate in 1842, a mother-of-pearl fishing industry flourished under the colonial government until the 19th century. Natural Pearls were a valued by-product of this industry, though it was estimated that only one oyster in 15,000 would yield a Natural Black Pearl of any size.

The only other major source of black pearls was across the Pacific - along Mexico's Baja California peninsula around La Paz, where the Spainish commenced pearl fishing from Pteria sterna oyster in the 16th century.

Carino M., Monteforte M. (1995) History of pearling in La Paz Bay, south Baja California. Gems & Gemology, Vol. 31, No. 2, pp. 88-105.

Ursula, the white you can see could just be the bead nucleus peeping through. I do believe that overproduction and lax controls caused a flood of poor quality black cultured pearls on the market in the 1990s, hurting prices and forcing the government to impose quotas and quality standards.

Best Regards
Yvonne Hammouda-Eyre

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