Cultured pearls, particularly the famed Tahitian black pearl, are French Polynesia's main export and without a doubt the best buy for visitors to the islands. If you are planning to shop for pearls it is wise to first stop by the Robert Wan Pearl Museum in Papeete, where you can find out all about these 'gems of the sea' and learn to judge their quality.
The only museum in the world dedicated entirely to pearls, the museum has an amazing collection of pearls, as well as 3D exhibits detailing the history of the local pearl industry. The highlight of the collection is the Robert Wan Pearl, which is said to be the largest ever found. Pearl jewellery is available to purchase, but the staff is not pushy to those who just wish to look.
Address: Vaima Center, Rue Jeanne d'Arc, Papeete
Telephone: 452 122
Opening times: Open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 7pm, Sundays and public holidays from 9am to 7pm