Nature is omnipresent in Tahiti. Colorful Tahitian black pearls are chosen by Designer Nathalie Leseine to be carved with motifs expressing some of what French Polynesia is all about; Dolphins, turtles, flowers, the lagoon... everywhere you look Nature speaks to you with her captivating beauty.
Leseine love for the flora and fauna of French Polynesia has been represented on Tahitian black pearls via her other company Tahitian Designs since 2004. The Tahiti cultured pearl has a layer of nacre of minimum 0,8mm, often much thicker. The thick layer of nacre makes it possible to carve these pearls. Here are a few examples to pick your imagination.
The dolphin represents peace and harmony, protection, cooperation, playfulness, joy and inner strength.
The turtle might be the most important and popular element in Polynesian culture. It’s connected to many meanings and the most common ones are long life (eternity), wellness, fertility, union, family and harmony. It also symbolizes the navigator.
In Tahiti the way the island's residents wove the flora bounty into both their lore and legends as well as their every day lives makes it for many memorable ways to experience Tahitians' love of flowers. A carved black pearl with a hibiscus is one example.
French Polynesia boasts beautiful calm lagoons and with 118 islands there is much to explore. For excitement, there is the memorable wave at Teahupoo, known as one of there most spectacular waves in the world!
So if you are a Nature lover and want to wear a meaningful pearl representing your love for it, please contact Nathalie@tahitiandesigns.com for loose pearls so you can create your own jewel or we will be glad to assist you.
Is it kindness? Is it a celebration? An acknowledgement? Does it mean passion? Gratitude? Or is it a never-ending story? What does your mind’s eye see when you hear “Love?”
A couple, hand in hand, quietly strolling? A mother and child? A man with his family? Two best friends for life strolling on a beach talking? Joyous good news? Perhaps in a letter from far away?
Love…A feeling deep inside. Warmth… safety… light. No limits, growing ever stronger. A flame that can never die.
Love… it is all of these. Yet it is more. Always more…
When designer Nathalie Leseine created her new charm, Ode to Love, her first inspiration came from a French poet Rosemonde Gérard who wrote to her husband Edmond in 1889 “The Eternal Song”. The poem became renowned for a couplet:
Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage, Aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain... For, you see, each day I love you more, Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.
A pendant was first made in 1907. In Leseine’s modern interpretation, Gérard’s eloquent expression,
Je t'aime… plus qu’hier… moins que demain-I love you… more than yesterday… less than tomorrow
appears laser engraved on both sides of the new charm. Like love itself, the charm takes the shape of the circle with inlayed diamonds and rubies.
Leseine’s affinity for contrasting lines is evident in her design. She uses the play of square princess cut diamonds channel set around a circle to give a modern vibe to the piece. Choosing to inlay the ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ signs, with princess cut gemstones, add a refined simplicity.
By incorporating these features, the charm embodies the simple sophistication and timeless elegance for which Leseine is known.
This new piece is named Ode to Love because it embodies not only romantic love, but love in all its facets. The love for your mother, for your children, your sister, your best friend for life, even the place you first declared your love. Or it can be a symbol of the celebration of loving life when you’ve conquered its challenges.
Ode to Love is dedicated to Love.
Love… always growing… always more.
Perle Captive by Atelier Leseine was first launched in 18k White Gold-Palladium and received an award at the International Culture Pearl Design Contest for its earrings design.
Tahitian black pearls, compelling wonders from exotic isles, veritable marine gems, and vibrant symbols of purity and perfection are unique.
Like all fine art, this exclusive collection is created in a limited edition of numbered pieces. Versatile in their appeal, a fusion of tradition and innovation these pieces are destined to imprint a lifetime of symbolism for the wearer and those in her inner circle.
Take a look at our Perle Captive couture charm meant to be an heirloom. Classic elegance with a modern vibe; simply timeless and so versatile - Hook it onto our "Le Charmeur" couture charm bracelet, or pair it with your chain for a new look. The choice is yours and it's sure to be unique!
Hikueru is one of the central Tuamotu atolls in French Polynesia. It has been a significant place twice in its life as an atoll. First, as the place of inspiration for an award winning book "Call it Courage", and then as the place where the first Tahitian black pearl farm was created.
Indeed the first man ever to experiment with pearl farming in this area of the world was Jean-Marie Domard. Domard a Frenchman was responsible for the marine resource division and began his pursuit of the black pearl in the early 1960's. Following in the tradition of Mr. Kokichi Mikimoto, he began experimenting with the Pinctada Margaritifera using Japanese culturing techniques. In 1961 he arranged through the French government to bring in professional Japanese pearl technicians into Tahiti. After a few years of failed attempts, in 1965 Domard successfully harvested approximately 1000 high quality Tahitian pearls. This harvest was the result of nucleating 5000 oysters and waiting for 3 years. Not only did this motivate the Tahitian government but the private sector as well. The first pearl farm was established in Hikueru and the second in Bora Bora.
But before being the place where the first pearl farm would be created, the French Polynesian atoll Hikueru was the setting for American author Armstrong Sperry's novel "Call It Courage", which won the Newbery Medal in 1941.
A boy named Mafatu, son of the chief of Hikueru, afraid of the sea determines to conquer that fear or be conquered-- so he went off in his canoe, alone, except for his little dog and pet albatross. A storm gives him his first challenge. Then days on a desert island finds him resourceful beyond his own expectation. This is the story of how his courage grows and how he finally returns home.This Polynesian legend is to this day sung by the people of Hikueru over their evening fires.
Call It Courage was filmed for television with a teleplay by Benjamin Masselink and a narration by Don Ho, and appeared on The Wonderful World of Disney for the first time on April 1st, 1973.
Born in French Polynesia’s South Pacific seas, the Tahitian pearl is a reflexion of the beauty of French Polynesia. A Tahitian pearl’s surface reflects the shimmering quality of the luminous Polynesian waters and its forms and curves are suggestions of sensuality and passion. Created in the legendary South Seas, fine Tahitian cultured pearls boast all of the colors and shapes that one can dream of. Since its discovery, the Tahitian pearl has conjured purity, sensuality, exclusivity and mystery. It is no wonder then that for hundreds of years, men and women have traveled the world to French Polynesia in search of the elusive Tahitian pearl. A symbol of purity and elegance, the Tahitian pearl enchants and captivates all who behold it.
The mollusk variety which produces Tahitian pearls is called the Pinctada Margaritifera, aptly named after the Latin “margarita” for treasure. Only about 30% of nucleated mollusks will produce a successful pearl and only 1 % will be of gem quality. The quality of a pearl depends on many factors, including water temperature and purity, nacre thickness, and the experience level of the grafter. Yet, none of these is as important as the health of the Tahitian pearl-bearing Pinctada Margaritifera mollusks, which thrive only in one location on earth: the pristine lagoons of French Polynesia
Simon Grand, a producer of oysters in Arachon, successfully tested growing spats, or young oysters, in pristine Polynesian lagoons around the Gambier Islands.
Two biologists, Bouchon Bradley and Gilbert Ranson, studied the productivity of various Polynesian lagoons and set forth a plan for the sustainable cultivation of pearl oysters in them. Several attempts were made with varying degrees of success.
Jean-Marie Domard, who had studied grafting and seeding techniques at the farm of Mr. Kokichi Mikimoto in Japan, achieved the first successful transplant of pearl-oyster stock at Hikueru atoll.
Domard’s transplantation and cultivation techniques were successfully extended to lagoons in Bora Bora with harvested pearls reaching 14mm in diameter. This production was featured in jewelry set by the famous jeweler Mourareau, and a new industry was born.
The first true Tahitian pearl farm, called ‘Société Perlière de Manihi’ was born on the atoll of Manihi. The founders of the innovative concept were renownmabe pearl grower Koko Chaze, and Frenchmen Jacques and Aubert Rosenthal, grandsons of the renowned Parisian jeweler Leonard Rosenthal, who financed the operation.
The first round pearl was produced and other pearl farms quickly emerged in the fruitful lagoons of French Polynesia.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) officially recognized the "natural color" of Tahitian pearls.
The World Jewelry Confederation, or CIBJO, officially adopted the standardized nomenclature "naturally-colored Tahitian cultured pearls." With recognition by gemological authorities and industry standardized classifications, the Tahitian cultured pearl began its rise in popularity.
The Tahitian cultured pearl was recognized and respected by jewelers and collectors world-wide as the "Pearl of Queens" – and as the "Queen of Pearls".
According to ancient Polynesian legends handed down from one generation to the next:
Ancients believed that Tahitian pearls were the first cases of light, which were given by the Creator to Tane --God of Harmony and Beauty. Tahitian pearls illuminated the vault of heaven with their light.
Their form and brightness inspired Tane to create the stars. Tane then brought the pearls to Rua Hatu -- God of the Ocean in order for him to lighten his domain. Oro -- God of War and Peace, working for Tane, entrusted human women whom he coveted to conceive his descendants, with the first pearls, as tokens of love. With the achievement of his work complete, he gave "Te ufi" - pearl oysters to humans, in memory of his voyage on earth. Ever since, the pearl oyster "Te ufi -- Pinctada Margaritifera, has thrived in the lagoons of French Polynesia.
In Polynesian culture, the first two mythical pearls, which were given to a princess on earth by Oro -- God of war and peace, were Poe Rava -- the extraordinary peacock colored pearl and Poe Konini -- the sculptural circled pearl.
Another myth says that Okana and Uaro - the spirits of Coral and Sand –both adorned Te Ufi with a glistening cloak that utilizing all the hues of every fish that swam the Polynesian seas. For Thousands of years the glory of the heavens has come to rest in the secret hollow of the iridescent mother-of-pearl, as a gift from the sky to the sea.
Another dreamy and romantic story about the Tahitian black pearl speaks of how the moon bathes the ocean with its light to attract the oysters. When they come to the ocean surface, the moon bestows heavenly dew upon each one of them. In time, the drop of heavenly dew is polished and shrouds itself in garments with blue, green, gold and pink shining in the colors of Tahitian pearls.
There are many myths and legends that attribute the black pearls with various powers from being a healer to cupid and even a gift of God. In ancient times, the Tahitian black pearl was a jewel worn only by royalty and hence came to be known as the Pearl of Queens and the Queen of Pearls.