I am not going to write about the things that I don’t like about Papeete, because you can find them in almost every sailing blog. There is too much noise and traffic and the prices are not even funny.
So let’s talk about black pearls shopping.
The best place to buy black pearls in French Polynesia are the Tuamotu atolls or even better the Gambiers, where the prices are much lower than Papeete.
BUT all the best pearls are not sold there, they are shipped to the expensive boutiques in Tahiti.
So if you want to SEE the best pearls without necessarily buying them, then you have to have a walk on the Boulevard Pomare, the main street in Papeete. Every second door is a pearl shop and one collection is more beautiful than the other.
The black pearls are actually not black, but of a range of colors, from purple to blue to green, cream, brown and grey.
They can be round or half-round, or have the shape of a tear or of a button… They differ in shape, colour, shine, size and of course… price.
I bought my pearls in Kauehi from a pearl farmer, but they are a different category of course… But in Tahiti I took my time and had my “pearl overdose” day (only watching this time!) which included the visit to the Black Pearl Museum.
Here are some pictures…
It’s not the beauty of the pearls that got me dreaming, but their life story. The process of pearl farming takes a very long time. The farmers take very good care of every single shell – for years!- and when they finally open them, they always hope to find that perfect roundness they have been chasing their whole life. I can almost feel the excitement in their hearts …