What are Peacock Pearls?

Beautiful green peacock pearl


Peacock pearls are beautiful black pearls with a range of iridescent colors reflecting all colors of the rainbow, just like the tail of the peacock. They are stunning and unusual, perfect for the unique and thoughtful gifts and jewelry.

The rare cultivated black pearls are naturally dark. The body color varies from a jet black to light gray, with silver or steel overtones.

Added to this, the surface reflects a myriad of rainbow colors. These shifting colors occur naturally, without any treatment from man. The result is a mixture of subtle shades and intense color.

So beautiful are these rare pearls that other pearls may be dyed to imitate the peacock colors. These are generally freshwater pearls, which are easier to work with than salt-water pearls.


Where Do They Come From?

Unlike precious stones, like diamonds and emeralds, which are formed as underground minerals, pearls are made from organic material inside mollusks, so they are classed as gems, not stones.

Shimmering natural peacock pearl


The natural dark pearls are cultivated in French Polynesia and are otherwise known as the Tahitian pearl. They are grown in the black-lipped oyster Pinctada margaritifera. Peacock pearls are one of the most sought after and cherished pearls.

The body is a dark grey-green color. There will be overtones of shimmering gold, pink, aubergine, blue or purple, ever changing in the light.


What Causes These Special Colors?

The dark background color results from the oyster’s environment, the trace elements and pigments in the water.

This color is like the way the different angles of the peacock’s plumage reflects light in different wavelengths, which we see as distinct colors. The myriad of shimmering colors against the dark background is caused by the different ways the light is reflected from the curved surface of the pearl. The irregular surface and the thickness and transparency of the nacre contribute to the stunning optical effects.


Freshwater Peacock Pearls

So special are these Tahitian pearls that many attempts were made to color or dye the more easily found, paler pearls.

Beaded black pearl necklace


Today, many peacock pearls sold are Chinese freshwater pearls that have been treated. Freshwater pearls have a softer nacre then the salt-water pearls, which is one of the reasons they are chosen for dyeing.

The process involves either gamma ray irradiation to darken the pearls or silver nitrate solutions. Organic dyes then produce blue, green, purple or brown tints. The process takes just a few hours or days. The resulting pearls look very natural and go by the name of freshwater peacock pearls.


Symbolic Meaning of Pearls

Pearls denote purity and wisdom gained through experience. They are considered lucky and calming. They balance your karma, and the pearls have a calming effect. They make relationships stronger, keep children safe and attract both protection and wealth.

They also symbolize loyalty, integrity and honesty. Pearls suggest the wearer is generous and pure. Wearing pearls for a wedding is supposed to stop the bride from crying, quite apart from looking pure and lovely.

Pearls are the birthstone for June, so a June birthday is the perfect time to offer pearls as a gift.


Legends of the Peacock Pearls

Pearls inspire many legends and myths. Their translucent quality readily lends itself to spiritual and rather ethereal stories.

One legend tells how Adam and Eve wept when they were cast out of Paradise. Eve wept white tears, and Adam wept black tears. Their tears became pearls, and the rarity of black pearls is because Adam, being a man, wept less than Eve.

A rather different legend comes from early China. They believed the black pearl formed inside a dragon’s head, and you had to slay the dragon to get the pearls.

Finally, there’s a Polynesian legend, which tells the tale of the full moon bathing in the dark waters of the ocean. The oysters are attracted to the shimmering light. After a while, drops of this light cover the black pearls with hues of green, gold, blue, purple and pink.


Choices for You

There are so many choices when it comes to finding the right pearls for your project. There are all the different colors, so would you go for a mixed bag or concentrate on just one or two shades? They come in many shapes and sizes, from perfect shiny globes to long colorful oblongs.

Here are two enchanting bracelets you can make yourself. They have used different colored pearls, and the black pearls are beautifully set off by the white pearls, but you could choose different combinations.

Just imagine how amazing they would look using black pearls. There are many more ideas to be found on YouTube, for necklaces, pendants, bracelets and earrings.

You can have your pearls drilled through the center, but also through the top to make hanging beads or irregular chains. With pearls, you can let your creative juices flow. They also make charming accompaniments when using other stones; their quiet calm sets off the sparkle of other more forceful jewels.



Pearls are romantic, soothing and beautiful. They are also very versatile.

These freshwater peacock pearls are perfect for making unique and unusual pieces of gorgeous jewelry to entrance your loved ones or to offer quality beads for resale. The dark color of the peacock pearls reflects light to make a myriad of subtle hues caught by the art of transforming freshwater pearls, making them extremely beautiful.
July 22, 2017 — Arun Yadav
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