Tahitian pearls, sometimes called black pearls, are cultivated in the black lip oyster in the warm salt waters around the islands of French Polynesia, near Tahiti. Like other pearl varieties, Tahitian pearls are grown by the insertion of a piece bead into the oyster. A piece of mantle tissue from a donor mollusc is inserted with the bead, which influences the colour of the pearl being produced. The oyster can produce pearls as large as 14.0mm, although 8.0‐10.0mm is more common. While Tahitian pearls are called black pearls, they actually range from light grey to very dark grey.
Cultured Tahitian pearls are available in a wide variety of shapes and colours. While most are black or white, many Tahitian pearls contain various undertones and overtones of green, pink, blue, silver and yellow. The intensity of these colours has a strong effect on their worth, with deeper, more evenly coloured pearls considered the most rare and valuable. Tahitian pearls that exhibit a variety of hues are called "peacock pearls" and are among the most treasured.