I purchased some chocolate pearls, a set of earrings and a pendant, all chocolate pearls with 14K gold setting and 4 diamonds in each setting. The pearls are the size of a pea. Very beautiful, the sales person says they are cultured but not dyed. Can this be so?
Hi Michael! Thanks for reaching out to us! You know, the salesperson might be right and if they are not right, it is probably a case that they simply did not know. So, are these naturally colored chocolate pearls? When I got your message I did some searching on name brand jewelry sites. I found these earrings for around $250 at Zales:
They are very open on their website that these are dyed freshwater chocolate pearls. They look like very pretty pearls but they are not naturally colored. I did a few more searches and the majority of jewelry I found online features dyed chocolate pearls.
I have written a post on chocolate pearls so if you want to read more on the process of creating them, click here. The main thing to know is that all freshwater pearls that are chocolate in color have been dyed. From my experience, the only naturally colored chocolate pearl comes from the black-lipped oyster found in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands. You might find some in Fiji but all of these will be from the same or similar species of oyster that produces these darker colored pearls. These are all saltwater cultured pearls.
As for knowing if your are dyed, since they are in a finished piece of jewelry, it may be hard to tell. The color will be darker around the drill hole of a pearl since most pearls are dyed after they are drilled, not before, and the color will concentrate near the drill hole.
I wish I could tell you more! If you love them, maybe it doesn’t matter if they are colored or not. And if you trust the person who sold them to you, I would stick with what they told you and trust that they are not dyed. If you have any more questions, let me know!
I am a modern day treasure hunter who travels the world for gorgeous pearls and amazing adventures. I own a pearl jewelry and jewelry repair business, ThePearlGirls.com, with a cute retail store in Athens, GA. I also have a Pearl Travel business and travel blog at TheWorldofPearl.com.