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South Sea colors

tzelin

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 26, 2011
Messages
42
I am actually eyeing a strand of multicolored South Seas. The thing is, I am confused on whether the colors are natural or dyed? :confused: Do South Seas come in multicolored hues, much like the metallics from PP? I mean, they have colors like deep pink, lavendar, silvery blue.. Colors that you will not usually see on South Seas. Is it possible for them to occue naturally in those colors?
 

Jose_G

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
2
Hello:

There is a range of natural colors of South Sea pearls, although they tend to be more muted than the colors of Tahitian pearls or freshwater pearls. South Sea pearls come from either a white-lipped Pinctada Maxima oyster or from a golden-lipped Pinctada Maxima oyster. The natural colors include white, all the shades of golden (cream to deep golden), and then the more rare shades. We have seen pistachio color South Sea pearls, pink South Sea pearls (the pink tends to be much less strong than a freshwater pink, and usually has a fair amount of cream to it), blue (silver blue to a strong steel blue), and even some subtle chocolate-colored pearls. We see pistachio and the stronger blue shades overwhelmingly in baroque pearls (they are much, much less common in round South Sea pearls). Hopefully I haven't left any colors out. I don't believe I have ever seen a lavender South Sea pearl, although I have seen a lavender Tahitian pearl.

South Sea pearls are sometimes dyed (most often to a deep golden color, although we have encountered dyed chocolate South Sea pearls as well), and that is of course something to look out for, as it affects the pearls' value.

Hope that helps! Let me know if I can answer any further questions.

Best,

Jose
 

tzelin

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 26, 2011
Messages
42
Dear Jose & Bean,

Thank you for your replies. I do not have pictures but I am quite sure they are not Tahitians. From what I understand, Tahitians are dark and the colors are overtones?

These are more like really colorful (rainbow colors, I will say). I am now quite sure that they are dyed, given that South Seas grow only in 2 types of oysters, the golden lipped & the silver lipped one, correct?

The necklace is really beautiful, but I dont think I will be getting it now. I really want a strand of South Seas, but I am unable to carry off the golden ones. They look wash out on me. I am Asian and quite fair. I do not think i want to spend so much on the white ones, given that freshwaters look great too. Maybe I should get a mixed one? Light gold and whites? Does anyone have any pictures of that? I am not sure if the sellers will customise a strand for me, as most of the necklaces I have seen are all in one color only.
 

The Old Pearler

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 12, 2009
Messages
26
Pink and lavender are freshwater colours more so than South Sea. Is it possible the strand is a SS and FW mix? Is the source reputable? So called South Sea shell pearls ofter have similar fancy colours.
 

Jose_G

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
2
Tzelin:

Tahitian pearls are not always dark. Indeed, I would say that a rainbow of colors is a better description. They range in color from light silver (even, very rarely, white) to black with a range of colors in between. Green body color is not uncommon. Blue body color is more rare, but certainly obtainable. Pastel tones are not uncommon. Our European customers really enjoy lighter body color in Tahitian strands. And pistachio color has been quite popular of late in the U.S. Chocolate color is a color that requires quite a bit of suspicion, as Tahitians are often dyed to a strong chocolate bronze color. Chocolate does occur naturally as well, but it is very very rare. I have seen sellers refer to Tahitian pearls as "black South Sea", so it is possible that the pearls are Tahitian. Tahitian pearls come from Pinctada Margaritifera oysters, "cousins" of the Pintada Maxima (South Sea oyster), so they are not technically South Sea pearls.

As far as mixed South Sea pearl strands (usually white with light, medium, and deep golden), these are not uncommon in the market, and I would think that any seller would be happy to put one together for you, as it is easier to do than putting together a color-matched strand. Have you tried on a deep golden strand? That is the color that most of our Asian customers seem to prefer.

I agree with the Old Pearler, that there may be a mix of freshwater and Tahitian pearls in the strand. If there are strong pinks and strong lavenders, those would most likely be freshwater pearls. As I mentioned, we have seen (very, very rarely) lavender Tahitian pearls. We see pink Tahitian pearls more frequently, but the pink tends to be a light pink, not the strong pink of freshwater pearls.

Bean: yes, we have seen South Sea pearls with pink body color (not just an overtone). They are rare, and all of the pink pearls we have seen have come from the golden-lipped oyster. The pink is a light to light-medium pink, similar to a Tahitian pink, but perhaps with a slight golden overtone (if I recall correctly).

As far as dyed colors go, I have never seen a South Sea pearl dyed to colors like pink or rainbow colors. I have only encountered South Seas dyed to deep golden & chocolate. I assume this is because the idea is to produce a pearl that appears more valuable. So using color dyes that are more associated with freshwater pearls (pink, lavender) or Tahitian would be counterproductive, as freshwater and Tahitia pearls tend to be less expensive than South Seas for the same size/quality (also, it may be that the technology is not there). Creamy colored South Sea pearls are the ones that I have seen dyed, because cream color South Sea pearls command a lower price in the market than white, medium golden, or deep golden South Sea pearls. So those are the ones that tend to get dyed to deep golden or, rarely, chocolate. The chocolate color that results from the dye process is lighter and less intense than the dyed chocolate Tahitian color.

Best,

Jose
 

PearlsOfJoy

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2011
Messages
88
when you see multi-color SS strands that aren't just whites and goldens then another type of pearl is in use. Its very common for Tahitian and SS pearls to be mixed in multi-color pieces and as another noted tahitians are not always dark and even range to what we would call "white". If you're seeing large pink or lavender pearls then they are probably bead nuked FW pearls - we're seeing lots of high quality FW pearls recently.

In the end if the jeweler can't tell you exactly what each pearl is then you need to find a new jeweler.
 

tzelin

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 26, 2011
Messages
42
The Old Pearler : Mixed of FW and South Seas / Tahitians? I don't think so because there are no FW for sales.

Jose : Thank you very much for the in-depth explanation! That is a real surprise for me. I did not realise that Tahitians come in lighter body colors! To be honest, I did not ask the jeweler on whether those are South Seas or Tahitians. It never even cross my mind that they could be Tahitians! I guess, you are right. Why would they dye South Seas to resemble FW? They are exactly like how you descibed them; actual colorful body colors instead of overtones over a black body. I find it really amazing. Oh well, I may be too late to buy it anyway. I saw it at a gem show TWICE and they are only coming back again in October, so maybe this time I should ask the seller on what types of pearls are those.

jeweln : Thank you so much for posting that link!

PearlsOfJoy : Bead nuked FW? I do not think so. The seller is a Japanese company by the way. Does that make a difference? They are one of the many booths at my local gem fair selling akoyas, south seas & tahitian pearls. The seller got really irritated when 1 of the potential customers asked if he was selling FW!
 

PearlsOfJoy

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2011
Messages
88
I mean, they have colors like deep pink, lavendar,
This is the reason I mentioned it as a possibility, you're just not going to see pink and lavender Tah or SS pearls. As it is not uncommon to have FW pearls mixed in with SS pearls in a multi-color necklace. So FW pearls are much more likely then dyed SS pearls, that just wouldn't make sense.
 

iLander

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
6,731

4Ranch Girl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
1,498
iLander|1313412924|2991153 said:
Jose is being modest and didn't mention this amazing necklace on his site;

http://www.tahitianpearls.biz/tahitian-pearl-necklace/multicolored-tahitian-pearl-necklace-tnbf.htm :love:

I think it shows some amazing colors, including the greens and natural chocolates that he is talking about. I would own it in a heartbeat, but I am saving for a some colored stone projects. :naughty:
I am not a round pearl girl my favs are the drops BUT I would also own that necklace in a heart beat. Been drooling over it for a while now.
 

tzelin

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 26, 2011
Messages
42
Oh my! Those pearls are to die for! And yes, some of the colored ones are exactly like the ones in Jose's strand! However, I am still a little cautious about buying pearls online. How can one tell the color and luster from pictures? :confused:
 

4Ranch Girl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
1,498
Tzelin I am very lucky that I live near or have traveled to visit some of the online sellers here. Look at a thread I have posted "Thought I would share" If you are interested in Jose's strand I can say he is a very nice man that I have met and bought pearls from. He has a good return policy. The same goes for Sarah of Kojima, Jeremy of Pearl Paradise. Douglas of Sea of Cortez, Josh of Komoka. I have yet to visit Catherine Cardinelli in Australia but some day I hope to but I have bought pearls from her. All of these sellers post the pictures of the pearls you will recieve so there will be no suprises. They work hard to keep their customers happy.

You can see the luster of those pearls because of the reflection and shine in the picture. I like to use the close ups to see if the reflection of the other pearls are reflected back. Another way you can see luster in a picture is the reflection of the camera in the pearl or the circle of light will have defined edges the shaper that circle of reflected light the higher the luster. There is another educational pearl forum you might find and read up on pearls too.
 
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