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Hidden Gems: What Pearl Colour is Rarest?

  • 4 min read

Hidden Gems: What Pearl Colour is Rarest?

Classic pearls are enduringly popular – and for good reason. The vintage glamour of a white pearl necklace like our white freshwater pearl double strand ‘classic’ design can be dressed up for an important work event or thrown on for a lunch with friends.

You might think of white pearl jewellery designs as the best choice for a versatile jewellery box. Having a classic white pearl design no doubt makes accessorising a tricky outfit that bit easier.

That said, some of the rarer pearl colours also offer a unique opportunity to add tonal depth to an outfit, all whilst highlighting your distinctive personality.

This article will answer the question ‘what pearl colour is rarest?’, outlining the individual character of rare pearls, and suggesting ways to best style these designs.

What pearl colour is rarest?

Pearls are formed when an irritant enters an oyster or mussel. The mollusc layers epithelial cells on top of this irritant, forming a pearl sac. This nacre is made of crystalline aragonite and a protein called conchiolin. Over time, this nacre builds layer upon layer, ultimately forming the pearl.

The colour of a pearl depends on a number of factors, including the type of oyster, the surrounding environment, and the growing conditions. Two of the most significant factors impacting the pearl’s overall colour is the original oyster’s shell colour, and whether the pearl is natural or cultured.

Cultured pearls are formed when a human introduces an irritant into a mollusc. Natural pearls are formed without human intervention.

The pearl colours that are rarest in natural pearls are gold and black. Pink, light blue, and lavender coloured natural pearls can also be rarely found.

Cultured pearls can come in a range of different, rarely-found colours. These range from pale blue, pale pink, pistachio green through to deep purples.

How are rare-coloured pearls formed?

Below, we provide a more detailed overview of how rare-coloured natural pearls are formed.

Golden pearls

Natural golden pearls are extremely rare and highly coveted. They are primarily found in a golden-lipped variety of an oyster. As the oyster deposits nacre around the irritant, the presence of a specific pigment in the oyster leads to the nacre’s golden tone.

Golden pearls therefore owe their colour to a combination of organic pigments and trace elements absorbed by the oyster during the pearl’s creation.

South Sea Pearls can come in tones ranging from gentle golds through to deep orange-golds. This exquisite saltwater gems are highly sought after, as each oyster produces just one South Sea pearl in its lifetime. Designs like our gold South Sea Pearl necklace are as unique as the wearer, complementing all skin tones by warmly illuminating the face.

Black pearls

Natural black pearls are just as rare as natural golden pearls. Genuine natural black pearls originate in a few select species of mollusc – most notably, the Tahitian black-lipped oyster.

A complex colouration process leads to the creation of black pearls. These luxurious gems are formed by the secretion of dark-coloured organic matter within the mollusc, giving them their distinctive tone. Black pearls come in various shades from very pale grey, through peacock green to aubergine purple.

Tahitian Pearls are the only naturally occurring black pearls (black Freshwater Pearls are coloured). Iridescent and elegant, a design like our black Tahitian Pearl ‘moon’ diamond pendant brings sophistication to any evening look. Style alone or with matching black Tahitian Pearl ‘moon’ earrings.

How to style rare-coloured pearl jewellery

Pearl jewellery now comes in a range of different colours. From the fiery oranges and burnt siennas of copper pearl earrings through to the delicate femininity of pink pearl bracelets, there are any number of ways to add a splash of colour to your outfit with a carefully chosen pearl design.

Below, we provide a few key tips and tricks for styling rare-coloured pearl jewellery –but don’t forget to check out our guide to styling more frequently seen coloured pearl jewellery, too.

Black pearls

Black pearl jewellery can look striking on fair complexions, particularly when they have blue or green eyes, but particularly highlights the natural features of wearers with black and olive complexions. 

Make a statement with a black pearl bracelet design like our Tahitian Pearl and rock crystal cuff. Striking as a single piece of jewellery, you could add extra atmosphere to your look by pairing with our black Tahitian Pearl and diamond ‘tsarina’ earrings.

Alternatively, choose warmer tones with our black Tahitian Pearl, green tsavorite and diamond cold pendant. Inspired by the colour and shapes of fireflies, the forest green undertones of the pearl and tsavorite is designed to conjure a joyful memory for the wearer. Style as an eye-striking solo piece or pair with our black Tahitian Pearl ‘Tsarina’ gold-drop earring for a special occasion.

Gold pearls

Darker complexions will benefit most from the rich tones of gold pearl jewellery.

Bring the warmth of the desert to your everyday by wearing our golden South Sea Pearl and cognac diamond necklace on winter days. Alternatively, accent your outfit with our golden South Sea Pearl and citrine ‘coco coral’ pendant, inspired by the structural perfection of a coral reef.

For a show-stopping gold pearl jewellery design, opt for our golden South Sea baroque pearl and citrine ‘coco coral’ necklace. Equally inspired by the geometric intricacies of coral reefs, this design would beautifully offset a strapless evening gown.

Blue pearls

Naturally-occurring blue pearls are extremely rare – Akoya pearls, Tahitian pearls, and South Sea pearls all come in aqueous tones. Blue pearls are a perfect choice for wearers with cool or neutral skin tones.

Pair matching blue Tahitian pearls with a smart suit for a striking work outfit. Our blue Tahitian pearl, diamond and moonstone pendant pairs with matching blue Tahitian Pearl earrings.

Discover a one-of-a-kind pearl design with Coleman Douglas Pearls

Book into a personal consultation with Coleman Douglas Pearls to discover our collection of rare-coloured natural pearls. We’ll bring over thirty years’ worth of experience to help you find a design that naturally lights up your face, enhancing your inner beauty.


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