Black-Lipped Pearl Oyster

Pinctada margaritifera

Like the Silver-lipped Pearl Oyster, this species was long harvested for mother-of-pearl. In the Red Sea region, where pearlers called this kind of pearl oyster sadaf, harvests provided large "black" pearls for Indian and Persian monarchs. Rarely pure black, these pearls more commonly are gray with green, blue or rose overtones. With the widest geographical range of all living pearl oysters, the Black-lipped Pearl Oyster is now cultured for pearls in French Polynesia as well as many other areas in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Black-lipped Pearl OysterPinctada margaritifera

Black-lipped Pearl Oyster
Pinctada margaritifera

The dark edge of the shell and its large size confirm that this is the shell of the Black-lipped Pearl Oyster.





Black-lipped Oyster pearlsPinctada margaritifera

Black-lipped Oyster pearls
Pinctada margaritifera

Cultured Black-lipped Oyster pearls are sold today as Tahitian cultured pearls. Circlé pearls are ringed or grooved, an unexplained imperfection that can occur in pearl culturing. Once considered nearly valueless, they now add distinction to elegant jewelry.