Learn about Gems DIAMOND BASICS Diamond Cut Diamond Clarity Diamond Color Diamond Carat Diamond Shape DIAMOND ADVICE Ideal Cut Fluorescence Diamond FAQs Certificates GEMSTONES Aquamarine Emerald Garnet Opal Peridot Ruby Tanzanite Sapphire Tourmarine Turquoise GEM ADVICE Basics Gem Styles Care and Cleaning Gems by Color PEARL BASICS Color Luster Size Shape Surface Strands PEARLS GLOSSARY Pearl Types Oyster Types Industry Terms GOLD Gold Types Karats Quality Color Price Care PLATINUM Basics SILVER Alloys Marks Workmanship Finish Maintenance HOW TO BUY JEWELRY Rings Styles Bracelets Earrings Necklaces Pins Brooches PEARL BASICS COLOR Mollusks create pearls in a palette of colors, from white to black and almost everything in between. Pearl color refers specifically to the color of the pearl's body, considered the fundamental color of the pearl. Colors generally range from cream, to silver-white, to black. But there are also color overtones reflected across a pearl's surface. In fact, the color of a pearl more often than not is a meld of its body color and its overtone, just as the term "white-ros?" will describe a white pearl with a rosy-colored hue. Akoya cultured pearls are white lustrous pearls with usually cream or rose colored overtones. These are the classic pearls most often used in pearl strands. Classic Japanese Akoya cultured pearls come in shades of white, the most valuable shades being ros? and white. The other shades are white-rose, silver-white rose, greenish-white rose, and greenish-white. Freshwater pearls come in various pastel shades of white, pink, peach, lavender, plum, purple, and tangerine. South Sea cultured pearls come in shades of lustrous white, often with silver or ros? overtones. They are larger in size than the Akoya pearl and are also used in the creation of fine pearl strands and ropes. Black pearls are known as Tahitian pearls, and come most often in shades of black and gray. While a Tahitian pearl has a black body color, it will vary in its overtones, which most often will be green or pink. Tahitian cultured pearls differ from other pearls in one important respect. Yes, they are cultured, as opposed to natural -- but their black color is naturally produced by the oyster, which makes them "naturally black" cultured pearls.