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".