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Natural Pearls

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  • Natural Pearls

    Natural Pearls Defined

    Natural pearls are calcium carbonate secretions which form within mollusks without human intervention.

    Natural Pearls Accidents of Nature

    Natural pearls are formed randomly and really are simple accidents of nature. When a certain type of irritant, such as a parasite, becomes lodged in the tissue of a mollusk, the animal responds by secreting a calcium carbonate substance called nacre to coat the intruder and protect the mollusk. Over a period of several years, this build-up of nacre forms a natural pearl.

    Discovery of Natural Pearls is Rare

    Natural pearls of any commercial value or desirability are extremely rare. Instead, since the early part of the 20th century, cultured pearls have supplanted natural pearls as the most common and available pearls.
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    Cultured Pearls vs. Natural Pearls

    Cultured pearls are still real pearls, grown organically inside of oysters in the same way as natural pearls. The difference is that in the case of cultured pearls, the pearl farmer intentionally stimulates the development of the pearl by inserting a "nucleus" into the oyster. Thus, the formation and discovery of the pearl are no longer left to chance.

    Natural Pearls Today

    Although natural pearls are found primarily in older jewelry from estate sales and auctions, their popularity is making a comeback. Colorful abalone and conch pearls have begun to find favor in exotic, unique designs. Recently, in 2007, a double strand of 68 perfect natural pearls known as the "Baroda Pearls" was auctioned at Christie's Auction House for $7 million American Dollars.

    Related Articles and Forum Threads:
    Last edited by CortezPearls; 06-08-2021, 07:20 PM. Reason: added photo
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    • Sustainable Pearls - Links Section
      by CortezPearls
      This section will have articles to Sustainable Pearl Farming and other related news.

      "The Sustainable Corner" Series is here:

      1. Introduction
      2. Sustaining Life with Pearl Farming
      3....
      08-02-2021, 06:24 PM
    • VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - Abalone Mabe
      by CortezPearls
      C. Abalone Mabe (Genus Haliotis)

      Abalone (or “Ear-shells” as they are sometimes referred) are not pearl oysters at all; they are, instead, an ancient group of marine “snails” known as Archaeogastropoda (Ancient belly-crawlers). Because they are snails, they move about their environment, living on rocks and grazing on brown seaweeds (kelp). Another interesting difference with pearl oysters is that these animals have a temperate water affinity: they prefer cold...
      07-21-2021, 12:23 AM
    • VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - B. Mother-of-Pearl Oysters (genus Pinctada)
      by CortezPearls
      B. Mother-of-Pearl Oysters (genus Pinctada)

      Black Lip Pearl oysters (Pinctada margaritifera)

      Black lip pearl oysters are known mainly for their beautiful, dark, cultured pearls but they have also been used to produce Mabe pearls, although in not great numbers.

      Part of the production strategy for Mabe pearls in French Polynesia and Fiji is at the very last part of the pearl producing cycle:
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      07-21-2021, 12:14 AM
    • VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - “Rainbow Lipped Pearl Oyster”
      by CortezPearls
      “Concha Nácar” or “Rainbow Lipped Pearl Oyster”

      This species of pearl oyster (Pteria sterna) has been used to produce both cultured loose pearls and Mabe pearls in Mexico. The first Mabe pearls were obtained back in 1994 and were the main product for the Guaymas based pearl farm until loose cultured pearls became more common (2002). Since 2010, “Cortez Mabe” have been produced in a steady number between 1 to 5-thousand pearls per year. There is an experimental Mabe pearl...
      07-21-2021, 12:06 AM
    • VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - A. Winged Pearl Oysters (genus Pteria)
      by CortezPearls
      There are several varieties of commercially grown Mabe Pearls that can be found at jeweler’s displays or on online vendors, but many have become rare over the years. The three main sources for Mabe pearls today are:
      1. Winged Pearl oysters from genus Pteria, including the “original” Mabe-gai (Pteria penguin) and the “Rainbow-lip” pearl oyster (Pteria sterna).
      2. Mother-of-Pearl oysters from genus Pinctada, mainly from the larger Silver (Pinctada maxima) and Black (Pinctada margaritifera) lipped pearl
      ...
      07-20-2021, 11:59 PM
    • V. Processing Mabe or Natural Blisters
      by CortezPearls
      Since these pearls are not very useable in jewelry with the entire shell, they are processed: first they are cut from the shell, with the help of a handsaw, Dremel tool, core-drill or tile cutting saw. The type of tool will depend on availability and production volume, the first used mainly by occasional processing and the latter for commercial production.

      A lineup of the Mabe pearl process.

      Once the blister is separated from the shell, these are rinsed to remove grime,...
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