Professional Jeweler Archive: Tahitian Black Cultured Pearls Recovering

March 2004


Tahitian Black Cultured Pearls Recovering

Overproduction crisis eases

Prices will rise in 2004 for black Tahitian cultured pearls because of growing demand and shrinking supply, says Robert Wan, Tahiti’s cultured black pearl supply leader. The evidence: 81% of the Tahitian pearl lots sold at a Robert Wan Pearl Auction Nov. 20-22 in Kobe, Japan. The average price per gram was $15.

The Tahitian pearl industry is emerging from an overproduction crisis. “Overall production should be eight to nine tons [in 2003], two to three tons less than in 2002,” he says. “The lower production stems from stricter controls enforced by the French Polynesian government and the natural disappearance of small producers who have returned to such traditional occupations in the outer islands as fishing.” Wan says prices should go up because the fewer producers left will concentrate on improving pearl quality.

The Kobe auction presented finished necklaces for the first time. “These were low-end-priced necklaces that sold well,” says Wan. “They were circled pearls with good colors.”

Wan plans to hold auctions this year in March, June, September and November at locations to be announced.

This Perles de Tahiti ad promoting Tahitian cultured pearls appeared during the 2003 holiday season.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications