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  1. #1

    Default Please help me ID my mabe: Japanese/chinese fwp, Pteria ...?

    Dear Pearl people,

    I recently bought a pair of inexpensive so-called "Japanese freshwater mabe" off Etsy (

    They are quite chubby in shape with a thick rounded mother of pearl back. The luster isn’t super sharp but they have very nice colourful overtones (while not as profound as on the SoC). They also glow red under long wave UV.

    The seller told me he got them from an International Pearl show form a Japanese seller as old stock, but couldn’t remember any more details.

    Here are some pictures against my Sea of Cortez Mabe earrings.

    What do you guys think these are?

    Thank you so much!

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    under water shot:
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    under long-wave UV, one side of the pearls fluoresces especially stongly.
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    Here I've turned the top pearl around 180degrees, the strongest fluorescence is on the right hand side now. SoC fluorescence for comparison (they also have a side where they fluoresce the most). Sorry for the rubbish pics, in real life it's totally obvious that they look very different from the freshwater or Tahitians I have.
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    backed with pale mother of pearl:
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    Could it be the glue that shows red light fluorescence? Or a saltwater mabe after all?
    Last edited by morella; 07-13-2018 at 10:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Oceanside, CA


    Pteria Penguin mabe pearls are saltwater, have fluorescence, and are grown in Japan, as well as a few other places. They can be incredibly beautiful. They can have a colored backing, but can be silver with multi overtones like a rainbow. They usually are naturally colored.

    I have posted some photos of Pteria penguin mabe jewelry here
    The World Is My Oyster!

  3. #3


    Thank you so much for this link, GemGeek! I was wondering about the Pteria Penguin option too, but I didn't know that they'd fluoresce as well. I would love to get more opinions vs. freshwater or saltwater here.
    When I asked Kojima's Sarah she doubted that they were Japanese but considered an origin in Indonesia or possibly the Philippines ... but I also didn't know about the red fluorescence back when I first asked her.

  4. #4
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member ericw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    South of France


    Nice pearls, morella, whatever their origins! And I love the combo. Just a thing I don't understand, it's this curved shape of the back of mabe. Is it carved shell's nacre of the one which have produced the mabe, or a glued piece? It's not easy to make this kind of piece, that makes me think of truly valuables mabe, to be worked like that.

  5. #5


    Thank you Eric! The back is quite curved, looks like a separate, glued piece. They are not quite as round I think as the 3/4 mabe shown here: ... but definitely quite roundish.

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