The Truth About Chocolate Pearls

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The truth about chocolate pearls is that they are very expensive. To get a natural color chocolate pearl is very rare which means that those chocolate pearls you see everywhere have a manufactured color.

Chocolate Pearl Dangle Earrings

Yes, the thought of lush brown colored pearls is glorious. A rich brown colored pearl is great for Fall fashion and it is a treat for Valentine’s Day too. You know, “Don’t get me chocolates, get me chocolate pearls!” The only problem is that if you see a strand of brown cultured pearls that are pretty uniform in shape, size and color, this is an indicator that these pearls were treated to become that color. Given the rarity of the natural chocolate color, it would be difficult to find a finely matched strand.

Chocolate Pearl Necklace

The real-color chocolate pearls actually typically originate from a black lipped oyster like the Tahitian black pearls. They are certainly an anomaly and, because of that, they are sometimes created. How? There are two options. Either dye the pearls using a standard dye or use silver nitrate as a chemical dye.

Silver nitrate  is the material in photographic film that turns dark when exposed to light. So, if you soak pearls in silver nitrate and then expose them to light, the pearls turn a tone of brown, gray or black. The exact tone is based on how long they were soaked and how strong the silver nitrate solution was. I explain this in More Ways To Color Pearls.

Another option is to take pearls, of any color, and simply dye them. Dyed Pearls are usually very unnatural looking but dying pearls brown definitely serves the purpose to create a pearl that would otherwise be unattainable.

Here is a good indicator your chocolate pearls are dyed…. there are no freshwater chocolate pearls on the market. So, if you are purchasing chocolate brown freshwater pearls you automatically know these were dyed!

So there you have it. The truth about chocolate pearls is, most likely, yours really are not naturally brown at all!

UPDATE: In response to some questions about chocolate pearls, I want you to know just because your chocolate pearls were expensive, this does not mean they were not dyed. The following earrings are on sale at Zales for $249 and they are very open about the fact that these are dyed freshwater pearls. So, do not let the price tag lead you to believe you have a naturally colored chocolate pearl!

chocolate brown cultured pearl earrings from zales - the pearl girls

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7 Replies to “The Truth About Chocolate Pearls”

  1. My chocolate fresh water pearl choker is very old. Each pearl is irregular in shape. The color of each pearl veries from each, some lighter some darker A reputable jeweler appraised it 4 years ago at $25.
    So, my question is, is there really a chocolate pearl or are all “brown ” pearls dyed?
    Thank you.

    1. Great question Dorcas! No, all brown pearls are not all dyed. There are so naturally colored brown pearls but they are typically more expensive. Most of the more affordable “chocolate pearls” in the market are dyed. I got some naturally colored chocolate pearls at a Tahitian pearl farm a few years ago. Best, India

  2. India, I bought some oysters to be opened at a Pearly Girl Show this week (4/06/17). They are Akoya pearl oysters either from Japan, Taiwan or China. One of the oysters when opened had twin chocolate pearls that measured 6.62 and 6.95.

    Now, are these pearls dyed to be chocolate or did I get lucky? I’d like to know at least a ballpark value for these type pearls. Our Pearly Girl nor any of the rest of us have ever seen a chocolate pearl before. Our Pearly Girl was shocked when she opened the oyster, especially when she found twin chocolates inside!!!!!

  3. India, I am so sorry. I forgot to thank you for your time in my comments and questions to you above about my twin chocolate pearls.

    I am so thrilled to get them (have not picked them up yet). I know they are going to be exquisite!!!!

    Thank you again. I am so very anxious to hear back from you.

    Donna Henderson Gray, Georgia

  4. Ms. Rows. I just last week purchased an oyster to be opened on a local Pearly Girl Show. When she opened my oyster, she gasped and said it was chocolate and she had never seen a chocolate pearl before. Not only was it chocolate but there were TWIN PEARLS inside that measured 6.62 and 6.95. Now these pearls were in a batch of pearls that were supposed to be regular colored pearls. We were all shocked to say the least.
    These pearls are Akoya pearls that come from Japan, Taiwan or China.
    Now I have two questions. Since these were twins & came directly out of the oyster, were these pearls dyed??? Also, I would like to find out the value of them. Can you help me please. My name is Donna Henderson ph: 478-919-5088. I live in Gray, GA. My e-mail, etc is below. I will be waiting anxiously to hear from you. Thanking you in advance for your time.

    1. Hi Donna! I am so sorry for the delay! I have been away on a pearl trip to Fiji. I must say I am not familiar with the Pearly Girl Show so I cannot speak to them specifically but I have never seen a chocolate akoya pearl or ever heard of them. So I suspect they were dyed. Any experience I have about the open your own oyster party are those that have been specifically seeded with the pearls which is why they can come out in a variety of colors. Usually they are freshwater pearls although maybe they now seed them with akoya pearls. I am not sure! Truthfully this is not my area of expertise. Were the pearls simply in the shell or were they in the gonad of the mollusk? Was the shell chocolate in color or did it have any chocolate coloring on it? I wrote a post here with some more info:

      I think the main thing is, if you are happy with the pearls you found then wear them and enjoy them! That is the best part about pearls. They re all just so lovely!

      Thanks for reaching out!



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