Pearls, black Tahitian gold

Pearls, black Tahitian gold

The Pearl Museum reveals the history and secrets of creating the iconic jewel of French Polynesia, and its complex and fascinating process.

Pay a free visit to this small museum founded by Robert Wan, who runs several pearl farms in Polynesia. You will know all about the origins of the black pearl of Tahiti. Its colour comes from the black-lipped oyster that produces it: the Pinctada margaritifera, an endemic Polynesian species.

The dark pigment it releases gives the dark colour to the nacre it secretes. For the oyster to produce a pearl, we must encourage nature by putting a tiny ball into the mollusc. It reacts by surrounding it with layers of nacre, turning the foreign body into a pearl. The Japanese invented the technique over a hundred years ago. Discover the craft and its history through civilisations (Egyptian and Pre-Colombian among others), representations through art as well as the process behind the creation of these gems. The museum also exhibits the largest round pearl in Tahiti, weighing over 8.6g 8,7g and measuring 26mm in diameter.

Robert Wan Pearl Museum
Boulevard Pomare
BP 850
98714 Papeete

+689 40 54 86 40