Polynesia cruise: all about the black pearls of Tahiti


15/07/2021

Polynesian mythology speaks of black pearls as the first shards of light given by the Creator to Tāne, a deity who presided over the ten levels of the sacred heavens. Tāne made them into stars before sending them to Ruahatu, the god of the oceans, to illuminate his universe. Then the god ‘Oro, deity of Beauty, Harmony and Peace, offered them to the women he seduced. When his work was completed, he entrusted the pearl oyster to the humans to commemorate his journey on earth. 

Discover the pearl oyster during your Polynesian cruise  

The origin of the Tahitian cultured pearl is the Pinctada margaritifera, a pearl oyster found in the lagoons of the Polynesian islands and more particularly in the Tuamotu and Gambier archipelago. This oyster naturally secretes a pigment that gives its characteristic hues to the Tahitian pearl. 

Living in the lagoons of the Polynesian atolls, Pinctada margaritifera measures 25 to 35 cm in diameter. Its natural state lives attached to coral and feeds on plankton, small creatures and plants floating in the lagoon. Many observers claim that the Polynesians knew about it long before the arrival of the Europeans. They made extensive use of mother-of-pearl for hooks and ornaments, as well as “natural” pearls

Main characteristics of the Tahitian black pearl 

Contrary to popular belief, the Tahitian pearl is not entirely black, although it can be very dark and very close to it. It has shades of green, brown, grey, blue and even purple, not to mention harmonic reflections, making it exceptionally beautiful. Its quality is evaluated by its size, the thickness of the mother-of-pearl and its beauty: generally, it is between 8 and 14 mm and has a mother-of-pearl thickness of at least 80%. Below this, it cannot be marketed. 

If the shape of the Tahitian black pearl can vary (semi-round, circled, baroque), you should know that during your Polynesian cruise, if you get a perfectly round one, with a flawless surface, with a specific lustre (shine and brilliance), it is a rare and highly sought-after pearl.  

Everything you need to know about pearl farming during your Polynesian cruise  

In order to obtain these perfect pearls, long human work is necessary. From the collection of young oysters to their rearing, several years of effort and attention are necessary before obtaining a beautiful Tahitian black pearl via delicate grafting and harvesting. A cruise in French Polynesia aboard the Aranui and a cruise to the Tuamotu and Gambier Islands, where the production is concentrated, will allow you to discover this long-term work carried out by Polynesians who have become actual farmers of the lagoons. 


read also
nuku hiva blog post
Les Echos: "The Marquesas, ultimate Polynesia"
29/07/2021
On May 27,2018, Les Echos published an article on Marquesas Islands, written by Anne Marie Gélinet. The journalist describes the itinerary of the Aranui, which provides year-round supplies to the most isolated archipelago in French Polynesia and one of the best preserved too.
Le Figaro: "Aranui, ultimate stopovers in the South Pacific"
29/07/2021
May 2, 2021, Le Figaro. The journalist recounts his experience on the Aranui, discovering a Polynesia that we never see, with Pitcairn as a highlight.
mixed cargo boat for a cruise in polynesia
Travel + Leisure : "8 Cruises To Celebrate Your Retirement, According to T+L's A-List Advisors"
28/07/2021
On July 14, 2021, Travel + Leisure published an article where it recommends a 13 day trip aboard the Aranui, written by Liz Cantrell.