A Guide to Pearl Colors


Apart from the traditional white pearl, known as "nacre", pearls come in a range of colors. These pearl colors range from dark gray to golden and black, with all shades between. While most people think of color as affecting only gemstones, on natural pearls it is an important indicator of quality. Therefore, it is important to understand how pearl colors are created and what colors are available in the different pearl types.




The traditional white pearl is always a safe bet. These pearls are timeless and appropriate for every occasion, instantly lending elegance and charm to any ensemble. Not surprisingly, white pearl earrings are a popular choice for bridal jewelry because of the white pearl's ancient symbolism. The pearl is a symbol of purity and innocence. Because the lustrous white nacre reflects the light, they appear luminous and brilliant, adding an angelic touch to even the most avant-garde wedding dresses. In short, a pair of white pearl earrings exudes purity and innocence, which is perfect for this momentous occasion.

White pearls stem from freshwater sources, Akoya and White South Sea varieties, although sometimes Tahitian pearls can turn out white pearls too. Of these, White South Sea pearls are the most valuable and opulent type of pearls, but Akoya pearls are the most popular.




The Tahitian and Sea of Cortez are the only truly black pearls, however, they are rarely that color. Rather, they have dark gray to charcoal bodies with distinctive overtones that provide the pearl with a natural sheen and color.

All other types of dark pearl jewelry on the market are artificially enhanced. These include black Akoya and black freshwater pearls. Black pearl jewelry is highly popular, as they make for creative, contemporary and unique jewelry creations.




Luscious, high-quality South Sea pearls have a stunning lustre and body color. The greatest part is that these are naturally occurring pearls, despite their near perfection. Golden pearls are unquestionably one of the most renowned and their scarcity makes them among the most valuable of all pearl kinds.




Pink pearls are delicate and feminine in appearance. White pearls occasionally feature pink undertones or are artificially "pinked," a process that gives white pearls a rosier blush color.

However, the majority of natural pink pearls come from freshwater mussels and are mostly found in China. Pink pearls aren't as popular as white pearls, which makes them a sought-after variety.




Freshwater mussels are the source of lavender pearls, which are comparable to pink pearls. These natural pearls have a lovely deep hue and sometimes feature overtones of green, blue-green, or occasionally rose and gold.




Chocolate pearls, which have a deep brown, almost metallic sheen, are one of the rarest and most fascinating pearl colors. In the fashion industry, these pearls have become quite popular and are highly valued.

Tahitian chocolate pearls are typically natural in hue, but there are dyed varieties available as well. These pearls reach decent sizes, with the average being 12.0mm in diameter.




Blue pearls are extremely rare and come from saltwater oysters. The colors of these vary from pale blue to vivid, deep blue hues. Natural-occurring blue South Sea pearls are probably the rarest of all naturally occurring pearl colors in the world.

Unlike other pearl types, blue pearls are said to get their color from a metabolic disorder that the mollusk has. While there are many artificially dyed and enhanced blue pearls on the market, finding the genuine thing is really special and highly valuable.




The color of pearls is almost entirely out of the pearl farming industry's control. Pearl farmers attempt to influence the pearl's hue, but most of the time, it happens by chance.

There are numerous causes behind the color of a pearl. Here are a few examples:

  • Type of Mollusk – The color of a pearl is determined largely by the inside lining of nacre on the shell, especially the coloring at the mollusk's lip. The golden South Sea pearl's rich color is due to the gold-lipped Pinctada Maxima, while black Tahitian pearls are tinted by the gray-silver tints of the Pinctada Margaritifera.


  • Location – Location has a significant impact on pearls. The color of a pearl that forms closer to the Pinctada Maxima's golden lip will be deeper than one that forms further inside the shell.


  • Human Manipulation – Various methods are used by pearl farmers to impact the color of their pearls. This might include using a different bead in the nucleus to alter the final appearance of their pearls.


  • Quality of Nacre – Because of its superior luster, color, and overtone, thick nacre layers yield a more intense pearl hue than thinner ones. The silver-lipped oyster that creates the famed White South Sea pearls has among the thickest nacre of all the oysters, which results in exceptionally lustrous pearls.




Aside from these points, pearls are subjected to a variety of treatments in order to enhance their color. These are standard industry practices and aren't "illegal" or "fraudulent," so there is no need for alarm.

However, some factors (like dyeing) have a significant impact on the final appearance of the pearl, so double-check to see whether the pearl you're looking at has any modifications applied to it.




Pearls are frequently "pinked" to create a rosy overtone, which is one of the most popular colors for white pearls. Pinking is simply a kind of dyeing and an attempt to keep up with the huge appetite for pink pearls.




Using gamma rays, this scientific approach enables pearl farmers to alter the color of pearls. Irradiation is more effective on Akoya pearls because the nucleus of the pearl gets darker as a result, resulting in a nicer hue. Irradiation has the opposite effect on freshwater pearls: it tends to darken the nacre layers. Irradiating also enhances the sheen of the pearl and gives it a more metallic appearance.




This is a well-known method of polishing pearls that involves immersing them in a saline solution and then applying a brief bleaching treatment to make them white. This process removes any minor flaws or imperfections on the pearl's surface. It's quite prevalent among South Sea pearls.




This is the simplest method to change a pearl's hue. The majority of colored freshwater and Akoya pearls on the market have been dyed, particularly black and blue colors. Freshwater pearls are simple to color because of their softer nacre, whereas South Sea pearls require much more time and money.




The most unique pearl color is undoubtedly natural blue pearls. They command a high price, especially if they're South Sea or Tahitian blue pearls.



There's no simple answer to this. You may want to think about your skin tone, budget and jewelry style while selecting your pearl color.

  • Certain colors like white and ivory pearls tend to flatter all complexions. However, certain hues seem to look better on particular skin tones. Gold pearls, for example, look fantastic on tanned to dark skin tones, while champagne (light gold) pearls flatter light-skinned individuals.


  • In terms of price, South Sea and Tahitian pearls are far more expensive than Akoya and freshwater. Freshwater is usually the best option for the lowest-priced pearls.


  • Finally, what kind of jewelry do you prefer? Choose white or rose pearls if you like conventional, classic pieces of jewelry. If you're going for a more avant-garde, modern look, consider black or gold pearls to make a statement.