Tahitian Pearl Pioneers in the Making of these Amazing Gems
Tahiti was the first place where these amazing Tahitian pearls were cultivated. However, the nation cannot be called a Tahitian pearl pioneer; it is rather the pearl farmers, hobbyists, and others involved in the making of these pearls that can be titled as the pioneers of this invention.
Tahitian pearls were produced for the very first time in the French Polynesian islands and Tahiti. However, the history of pearls has another say. Japan, Mexico, and the Persian Gulf were the main locations where such pearls were found between 1400 and 1800. Tahitian pearls are usually found in the black-lipped oysters called Pinctada margaritifera which are quite larger, sometimes more than 12” across and weight approximately 10 pounds or more. This results in much larger pearls than usual. These Tahitian pearls are unique because of the natural dark color. Most of the Tahitian pearls are known to be black, but they are not truly black in color; instead the hues might vary from charcoal, silver, or many variations of grey with a dominant green tinge to it.
Simon Grand can be considered the pioneer of Tahitian pearls because he experimented with some young, pearl-bearing oysters to come out with new-look pearls. Bouchon Brandely and Gilbert Ranson followed Simon’s work and concentrated on different Polynesian lagoons.
In the 1900s, several attempts were made to try grafting on the pearls. It all started with the efforts of Francois Herve in 1930. He tried his hand in grafting. However, the painter Matisse really made it count in 1960 when a trial graft was actually successful.
One of the Tahitian pearl pioneers is William Reed, an Australian who started up the Tahiti Perles with some of the most exotic pieces of black-colored Tahitian pearls. However, the company was sold to Robert Wan in 1975, and he later made this company one of Tahiti’s largest private pearl producers in the world today. Reed, one of the Tahitian pearl pioneers, started working in Tahiti in 1967 through 1973. He was then a biologist by profession with the Fisheries Department of the government of Tahiti.
Another most important name that should be mentioned in the league of Tahitian pearl pioneers is that of Robert Wan. Tahitian Black Pearls by Robert Wan remains one of the best references of the industry in terms of its quality and design. Wan has an incredible sense of determination and the zeal to excel in everything he does. Wan founded the best Tahitian cultured pearls in 1973. It was one of the marvelous adventures of his life. Although the discovery was not his choice, it happened quite accidentally. Wan later viewed pearl farming as the means of taking the culture and the treasures of Tahiti to the forefront.
Koko Chaze, Jacques and Hubert Rosenthal, Jean-Claude Brouillet also deserve mention here as some of the pioneers of Tahitian pearls.
No one can be named as a singular pioneer of the Tahitian pearls because it was the efforts of all these people who made it possible. All of them are true Tahitian Pearl Pioneers.