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Mabe Pearls

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  • Mabe Pearls

    Mabe Pearls Defined

    A Mabe pearl is a worked and assembled blister pearl (attached to the shell). It is typically of hemispherical shape and is grown against the inside of the oyster's shell, rather than within its soft tissues. Natural blister pearls are commonly found in nature.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Mabe-de-Ecuador---Verano-2018.jpg Views:	11 Size:	90.6 KB ID:	453957

    Cultured Mabe Blisters on their shells. Photo courtesy of Dr. César Lodeiros and his research team in Ecuador.

    Are Mabe Pearls Rare?

    Mabe pearls are not considered rare or highly valuable, except those grown in rare species such as the Pteria sterna, which are currently farmed in Mexico. These Mabe pearls exhibit intense metallic colors and glow pink-red under ultraviolet light.

    These are examples of genuine Pteria sterna mabe pearls.

    Mabe Pearls Develop on the Shell

    Cultured Mabes are grown intentionally, by using a hemispheric nucleus, rather than a round one; and by implanting it against the oyster's shell, rather than within its tissue. The pearl then develops in a hemispheric form, with a flat back. While in the oyster a Mabe pearl is considered a blister pearl, not a Mabe pearl: for that you need to have it processed.

    Creating Mabe Pearls

    After the blister pearl has developed, it is 'worked' to become a Mabe pearl. Blister pearls are worked by cutting the pearl-blister out of the shell with a circle-bit drill or other cutting tools. The nucleus is then removed and replaced with a resin. The back of the pearl is then capped with a piece of mother-of-pearl to complete the Mabe pearl.

    Mabe Pearls, Perfect for Jewelry

    Cultured Mabes are used for such things as rings and earrings, rather than for stringing on necklaces. They tend to be exceptionally beautiful with high luster and orient but are priced much lower than round pearls.

    UPDATE - Check out our COMPLETE GUIDE TO MABE BLISTER PEARLS:

    I. Introduction to Blister and Mabe Pearls
    II. History of Blister Pearls
    III. The Culture of Mabe Pearls
    IV. Mabe Pearl Production Technology



    Related Articles and Forum Threads:
    Last edited by CortezPearls; 07-13-2021, 04:49 PM.
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    • DIY Project: Make your very own Pearls in Half!
      by CortezPearls
      You have probably seen those photos of beautiful pearls that have been "cut in half" so you can see their inner structure, and you probably wondered how those are worked: are they sawed off? maybe a machete?


      Well, wonder no more! This little video explains in detail how you can make your very own, very nice...pearls in half.

      You will need:
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      ...
      10-26-2021, 07:30 PM
    • Pearls in the Web of Life - Part 2
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    • Mabe Pearl Grading - 7) Dome Height
      by CortezPearls
      Part of the beauty of a Mabe pearl comes from its “dome” (height). When a Mabe pearl displays a low dome it most closely resembles a piece of mother-of-pearl shell than an actual pearl. Unfortunately, many Mabe pearls today are grown too flat, due to the intrinsic characteristic of the host shell: Pinctada shells are usually flatter than Pteria shells (the shells being much more concave) which does not allow for the use of tall implants, since these will touch the opposite shell and will cause the...
      08-23-2021, 11:20 PM
    • Mabe Pearl Grading - 6) Nacre Quality
      by CortezPearls
      The most important factor here is nacre thickness. Many Mabe are cultured for short periods of time (4 months) to obtain the most perfect shape, but at the expense of their nacre thickness and durability. On the other hand, there are producers that grown them for too long (over 12 months) and end up having pearls that have thick nacre, but their shapes are not standardized, and they may display one or more of the surface imperfections we discussed in the previous paragraph. There is usually a middle...
      08-23-2021, 03:47 PM
    • Grading Mabe Pearls -5) Surface Quality
      by CortezPearls
      As with other pearls, surface quality is an important attribute: the cleaner the surface is, the more desirable the Mabe is and more valuable too. The usual surface imperfections found in these are:

      • Missing Nacre: whitish, bite shaped marks.
      • Spots, pinpricks: dark or light-colored pin-prick markings.
      • Rippled surface: these are markings caused by the growth of the abductor muscle on top of the blister pearl. This marking causes the appearance of wavy...
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    • Grading Mabe Pearls - 4) Mabe Luster
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      Mabe pearls are not very known for their great luster, although many of these pearls may display amazing luster. Mabe usually display a more silky or subdued luster, especially in the Pinctada species and is most shiny in the Pteria species…but luster is usually enhanced by means of a final polishing, done with a high-speed cloth-wheel and a polishing compound, although much care must be taken to avoid excessive polishing that leads to heat and may ultimately damage the pearls by “burning”...
      08-23-2021, 03:26 PM
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