Chapter 8

Chapter 8 of Pearls A Practical Guide is all about Tahitian black pearls – which aren’t black and don’t come from Tahiti. But they come from most of the rest of French Polynesia, Fiji, the Cook Islands. What colours are available, and what shapes. What criteria to deploy when buying.

These stunning pearls are not from Tahiti but from nearby Fiji. Fiji pearls show a huge range of colours and generally have a slightly earthier feel to them.

(The farm which produced these – Civa – is also working to protect and restore clams to the local seas – see the natural pearl section, chapter 11 for some photos of the baby clams they are raising)

A whole bowl filled with centre drilled adorable multicoloured keishi pearls. Every possible colour and shape.

Where you start when attempting to make pairs from circle Tahitian drops. Sometimes you can be lucky quickly and sometimes you can spend hours and not find a single pair.

At the top of the tray I’m separating out the good pearls (lustre, shape and colour) from the so-so which get put in the blue basket scoop by scoop. Then I study the ones I’ve selected. Any matches?

I’ve been sent some lush photos of Robert Wan’s Tahitian pearl farming.