What Are Peacock Pearls?

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What are peacock pearls? Peacock is a trade name used to describe the color of “black” pearls. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), “Peacock is a trade term for Tahitian cultured pearls with dark green-gray to blue-gray body color and pink to purple overtone.” Trade term is an important distinction here. When the color or shape description of a pearl is a “trade term” that means it is up for a loose definition. Pearl descriptions and values are subjective as it is however the use of trade terms are even more likely to be interpreted a variety of different ways. So, in general, peacock is used to describe a variety of purple, blue, gray and green hues.

So, what are peacock pearls? It is a wonderfully exotic way to describe colorful pearls! The GIA uses descriptions including body color and overtones to describe the color of pearls. They do not use the term “peacock” but many retailers do.

Although peacock started as a description for Tahitian Black Pearls, the term is now used to describe Chinese freshwater pearls too. Chinese freshwater pearls are not naturally black or peacock, they are dyed to look that way. And it is truthfully amazing how close these colors look. So, do not assume you peacock pearls are freshwater or Tahitian (or from Fiji! or from the Cook Islands!), without closer inspection!

I used to work solely with freshwater pearls, both natural colors and dyed pearls, so I was truly wowed when I went to French Polynesia and saw the variety of pearl colors of Tahitian Black Pearls. They are even more varied than the colors of dyed freshwater pearls! It was truly a luscious learning experience (I have fallen in love with these gorgeous pearls!) Here I am asking the owner of the Tahitian Black Pearl farm more about the color of his pearls. It seems he never limits himself to one word or description!

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