Pearl Education

The Sustainability Corner - Part 3

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Pearls in the Web of Life – Part 1

Pearls are not only a product of a living being -a mollusk- but their “mother mollusk” is also a host for dozens of other life-forms! When we think about other animals that we use in our lives (as a food source or as a luxury good, such as furs) we can rarely imagine these creatures being a part of something larger or co-existing with other animals from different species. We may picture a henhouse bursting with chickens, or a pen full of cows, but we find...

Sustainable Pearls - Links Section

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This section will have articles to Sustainable Pearl Farming and other related news.

"The Sustainability Corner" Series is here:

1. Introduction
2. Sustaining Life with Pearl Farming
3. Pearls in the Web of Life Pt 1
4. Pearls in the Web of Life Pt 2
5. Pearls in the Web of Life Pt 3

VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - “Rainbow Lipped Pearl Oyster”

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“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 farm in La Paz...

VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - Abalone Mabe

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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 waters, as opposed to pearl...

VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - B. Mother-of-Pearl Oysters (genus Pinctada)

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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:

Cultured (loose) pearls are produced for up to three cycles (first, second and third grafts), and...

VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - A. Winged Pearl Oysters (genus Pteria)

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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:

Winged Pearl oysters from genus Pteria, including the “original” Mabe-gai (Pteria penguin) and the “Rainbow-lip” pearl oyster (Pteria sterna).
Mother-of-Pearl oysters from genus Pinctada, mainly from the larger Silver (Pinctada maxima) and Black (Pinctada margaritifera) lipped...

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