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Grading Mabe Pearls - 3) Colors

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  • Grading Mabe Pearls - 3) Colors

    Mabe pearl color is highly dependent on the species of mollusk that is producing the blisters, and even within each species you will be able to find a great variation of all-natural colors, but many Mabe are also dyed to produce an artificial coloration. Although we will not go in great detail on this subject, we will quickly cover some of the ways these pearls are given these artificial colors.

    We have already covered the different natural colorations we can find in the different species that are commonly employed for Mabe pearl production, but we will again have them here for easier comparison:
    Common Name Scientific Name Natural Coloration
    Mabe-gai Pteria penguin White, silvery gray, golden
    South Sea Mabe Pinctada maxima White, silvery gray, champagne
    Tahitian Mabe Pinctada margaritifera Dove gray with rainbow stripes
    Eyris Blue Pearl Haliotis iris Green-Blue, with varied overtones
    Cortez Mabe Pteria sterna White, silvery gray, purple, emerald green, blue, red, coppery and golden, with varied overtones
    Some coomon Colors for Mabe pearls

    In the case of artificial colorations, we have the typical “bright” colors (such as flamingo-pink, lemon-green, deep-golds, deep-blues, etc.) and the more traditional colorations, such as mother-of-pearl white, cream and gold and even blacks. In every case, these colors take advantage of a very thin nacre coating, so the color is actually found just beneath the thin nacred dome. There are basically three ways these colors are produced:

    1. The Mabe insert (nucleus) has the desired color, and the color is seen through the very thin nacre coating.
    2. During processing, the Mabe blister dome is filled with a colored epoxy, this being the color that will display through the thin nacre coating.
    3. A lacquer coating is applied to the inner Mabe blister dome, and this is the color that will be displayed.
    Mabe with Artificial Colorations

    Naturally colored blue pearls -such a as those found in Eyris and Cortez Mabe pearls- are rare and valuable, whereas those using artificial coloration are usually produced in some parts of Asia and are quite inexpensive.

    Next Entries on the Subject:

    4) Mabe Pearl Luster
    5) Mabe Pearl Surface Quality
    6) Mabe Pearl Nacre Quality
    7) Mabe Pearl Dome Height
    Last edited by CortezPearls; 08-23-2021, 11:26 PM.
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