Pearls make one of the most worn decorative gems on jewelry. There’s no event where at least one person doesn’t wear earrings made of pearls or necklaces. The same goes for the movies, especially the old ones where we could often see Audrey Hepburn wear pearl necklaces. However, pearls, although incredibly valuable, are relatively easy to mimic so the vast majority of pearl jewelry we see is not real pearls. The same goes for black pearls which are obtained specially and, when seen one can’t help but wonder whether they’re real.
So, you opened an old drawer from your mother or grandmother and found a beautiful necklace made with black pearls. The first thought must be that they’re incredibly valuable and that some collectors would love to squeeze a lot of cash to make it a part of their collection.
But, what if these black pearls aren’t real and they don’t have any value? The market is oversaturated with artificially-made and dyed pearls, which makes it quite tricky when it comes to identifying real pearls, particularly black ones.
If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick answer: Tahitian pearls, also known as black pearls are incredibly valuable. Even those of lowest quality can be found for $200 per pearl. The highest quality pearls are available for thousands of dollars.
Alternatively, you want to start collecting jewelry or gems. Black pearls would be an ideal addition to your collection, especially if there’s a touch of retro or vintage times to them. Antique jewelry is more valuable if it’s well-preserved and black pearls are too valuable not to be preserved properly.
Whatever may be the case with these two scenarios, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to talk about how much are black pearls worth. Additionally, we’re going to educate you on how to tell real pearls away from fake ones and how you can appraise your pearls or jewelry made of them properly. Continue reading to find out more.
About Black Pearls
Black pearls are also known as Tahitian pearls. They represent an organic gem and may be formed in other color than black, but still have lusters and undertones which may give them that black-like appearance. Given they’re organic, they are formed by oysters. More precisely, they form inside the black lip oyster known as Pinctada margaritifera scientifically.
The reason black pearls are called Tahitian pearls is that the black lip oysters are most commonly found around Tahiti, where these animals are often cultivated to get as many black pearls as possible.
Interestingly, Tahitian pearls can be found around other islands in French Polynesia, making this particular area the richest black lip oyster spot in the world.
As mentioned earlier, Tahitian pearls are not necessarily black. They come in a great range of colors, one of which is white. However, other overtones and undertones include dark green, lavender, pink, silver, yellow and dark blue. Collectors seek after the darker overtones, which are rarer and harder to find in the commercial setting.
Even though you may see many around the market Tahitian pearls are quite rare, which skyrockets their value in the market. That doesn’t surprise us, considering that there’s only one natural breeding spot for the black lip oysters on the market.
They are rare, but so they’re beautiful, boasting some of the most pristine and gorgeous dark designs that make proud spots on a lot of expensive and luxurious jewelry. That’s also what makes a lot of jewelry collectors attracted to these pearls, and why they’re so often sought after.
One thing worth knowing is that Tahitian pearls are not entirely black. What is considered black is a dark silver variant, dark green, or even charcoal grey. Oysters that make Tahitian pearls are incredibly large, which is quite beneficial for people who are looking for large pearls, as larger oysters will also produce larger pearls.
Another thing that is very important for these pearls is their size and shape. Those pearls that are cultured will be introduced in various shapes, from oval and button to teardrop, baroque, and round. That also makes more unique jewelry, and those who are after just pearls rather than gorgeous jewelry can collect pearls in the most various sizes and shapes.
The culturing process of Tahitian pearls is also quite expensive, which only increases their value among collectors and in the market. A grafter who performs the culturing process has a special bead that is inserted into the reproductive organ of black pearl oysters known as the gonad.
This bead will influence the special colors in the pearls. The materials are also enhanced which ensures that the oyster won’t reject the nucleus but also has a sanded texture which ensures that the pearl will be more round once it’s produced.
Black pearls can also be made artificially. Particular Black Freshwater pearls from China and black Akoya pearls from Japan are dyed and exposed to a variety of chemical processes, one of which is also called irradiation. With Tahitian pearls delivered from Pinctada margaritifera, there are no chemical treatments, other than organic pearl enhancement which is completely sustainable.
The shell color of the host oysters can influence the color of the Tahitian pearl. For example, if the inside of the shell features dark green or dark blue color, it’s more likely that those pearls will host such color once they’re farmed.
Are Black Pearls Any Worth?
Because of their beautiful variety of shapes and gorgeous colors, undertones, and overtones, black pearls are more than valuable and represent one of the most valuable and expensive decorative gems in the world.
Black pearls which were delivered organically are way more valuable than Freshwater and Akoya pearls that were dyed and are normally more valuable than lab-made black pearls.
But, it’s important to note that the process of identifying and appraising black pearls can be more difficult and often expensive for a person who doesn’t know much about pearls. Luckily, throughout this article, you can learn how to identify the overall value of black pearls.
Decades ago, farming and extracting black pearls wasn’t so available to everyone. That’s why black pearls on the market were way more expensive than today. Still, if your pearl is in a unique shape, you can definitely get more for it than you expect. Just make sure to hire a knowledgeable appraiser, who can help you set the price properly.
How Much Are Black Pearls Worth? [Chart]
We spent some time discussing the origin and the process of cultivating and farming black pearls. As you can see, it wasn’t easy, and using only sustainable materials to ensure top-notch quality often means that the process is quite expensive, which leads to high price tags in online shops and even auctions and flea markets.
If you want to save some money that you’d normally spend on Tahitian pearls, you can get dyed Freshwater and Akoya pearls, which may have a bit lower value, but they’re dyed black and treated with different chemical processes to get in the state that they’re in.
Still, they represent a more affordable option to get in case you’re not a collector but want authentic-looking black pearls. If you want to sell them, however, you will get much more worth from Tahitian pearls than other ones.
In this section, we won’t discuss black pearls that are made out of plastic or glass, because they are practically worthless on the market. However, Tahitian pearls are much more valuable and you will have to cash in a lot in order to get the right value.
|Low-Quality Black Pearl||Up to $200|
|Medium/Average Quality Black Pearl||$200-600|
|High-Quality Black Pearl||$600-36000 and more|
You can see that Tahitian pearls are way more expensive compared to the traditional Freshwater and Akaya pearls. Freshwater pearls are the cheapest and can be found anywhere from $20 to $5,000 for the highest quality. On the other hand, Akaya pearls can be found anywhere from $100 to $6,000 for the highest quality respectively.
Many things affect the price of black pearls. Primarily, as discussed before, artificial pearls won’t be valued because their value can’t even be compared to these. Alternatively, Akaya and Freshwater pearls can be treated to become black, but their value is nowhere near that of Tahitian black pearls.
It’s worth mentioning that pearl values change daily depending on the values that the market dictates. Still, it’s possible to keep a track of these values to inform yourself before attempting to buy certain jewelry or sell pearl-made jewelry. At gemsociety.org, you can see the values of different types of pearls including the Tahitian black pearls. Still, you’ll need to make an account and subscribe.
But, to see how much the black pearls are worth, this black pearl necklace has been sold for just a bit over $3,300 back in 2008. Another example of worth of Tahitian pearls is this necklace, that was sold in 2009, for a stunning amount of nearly $24,000.
How to Evaluate Black Pearls
Evaluating black pearls may be one of the most challenging things to do when wanting to sell or buy new jewelry. If the black pearl necklace or bracelet is something you pulled out from a hidden stash or a drawer, then it must be quite challenging for you to evaluate it on your own.
Many people don’t have experience appraising and evaluating expensive items and can often experience a lapse of judgment and struggle with identifying the real value. Luckily, the tips that we presented you with below will allow you to have an easier time estimating the value of your black pearl necklace.
Finally, you can post the pictures of black pearls on different forums and social media groups and get a second opinion for free. Alternatively, you can hire a jeweler or an appraiser to get professional advice and approach.
As mentioned multiple times throughout the article, Tahitian pearls aren’t completely black. Some that come in charcoal gray and dark silver can resemble black pearls and come the closest to the original pearls. Nevertheless, there are other variations like dark green, lavender, and others.
Color plays a great role in determining the value of the black pearl. That being said, the darker the pearl, the more valuable it is, although the overtones also play a great role in the pricing and grading of the pearl. If the color is quite concentrated and there are no additional colors, the pearl will be more valuable.
That being said, pale lavender pearl with some other additional tones may look beautiful to you, but it’ll be less valuable than dark gray Tahitian pearl. But, if both colors are highly saturated and deeper in color, they’ll have a higher value.
Some of the most valuable black pearls are the peacock black pearls which are named peacock because of the alluring green, gold, and purple textures. Those peacock variants that are the most saturated and richest in colors have the highest value as they’re the rarest.
We talked about overtones when mentioning the peacock black pearls, but if that wasn’t enough to convince you that powerful overtones lead to powerful prices, hopefully, this will. Overtones also allow pearls to have unique and authentic looks, which means that Tahitian pearls are so rare and special, that you’ll never find two pearls that look the same.
Luster is an important determinant when pricing black pearls. All appraisers will pay special attention to it because the appearance of luster affects the final value. As they age, gems often lose their luster or become less prominent. Black pearls that have a good quality luster are those that have perfect reflection which refracts like a mirror. Pearls that lost or didn’t have a good luster will likely be valued for less than those that do.
It’s safe to say that all pearls come in different size ranges. Tahitian pearls range from 8mm to 14mm although some may be larger, depending on the oyster. If you’re a fan of large jewelry, then you will have to cash in more for the larger Tahitian pearls. That’s because the pearls that are more valuable on the market are also larger. Needless to say, not all oysters can produce large pearls, although exceptions happen.
If you ever watched a video of pearls being extracted from oysters, then you probably know that they often come in different sizes, but also different shapes. Not all pearls are round, some are oval, teardrops, half-circle, and much more. What’s more important to note is that only 20% of Tahitian pearls are perfectly round. That being said, round and spherical pearls will be the most valuable on the market.
Frequently Asked Questions
Everything you need to know about black pearls and their worth is located below.
Why Are Black Pearls More Valuable Than Others?
Tahitian pearls are more valuable because they are extracted from a single location, compared to the pearls extracted from other oysters. The black pearls also come in many variants, many of which are not practically black, which adds more to their rarity and is more attracting to collectors.
Where to Buy Tahitian Pearls?
Buying Tahitian pearls can be quite challenging because, not all buying locations are trustworthy. You can always visit local places and flea markets, but Tahitian pearls are much rarer than that. You have to be careful in your research, because even global marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy are thriving with tricksters and scammers.
You should check reliable websites such as Pearlsonly.com and Pure Pearls. Still, you should consider finding a trusted jeweler who’ll take you in the right direction if you want to buy or sell Tahitian black pearls.