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VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - Abalone Mabe

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...
 

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

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,...
 

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

“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...
 

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

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
...
 

V. Processing Mabe or Natural Blisters

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,...

Pearl of The Week

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  • CortezPearls
    Cibjo webinar/discussion on origins of gemstones
    Although it is not about PEARLS (but it may include them), some of you may find it interesting, so here is the information:

    The origin of a gemstone, namely the geographic location at which it was extracted from the earth, has for years posed substantial scientific challenges to the gemmologists who are called on to make definitive judgements.

    The current focus on supply chain integrity and traceability means that the concept of origin has expanded and is more relevant
    ...
    04-29-2021, 10:26 PM
  • CortezPearls
    Pearl-Guide.com Presents: Walk and Talk with Josh Humbert!



    Pearl-Guide.com invited forum member & sustainable pearl farmer Josh Humbert of Kamoka Pearls fame to a "Walk and Talk" Zoom event this past Saturday 10th, 2021.

    Josh -and wife Celeste Brash- took some time from his busy schedule with the pearl seeding season at his farm in Ahe, French Polynesia, to share information about their 2021 pearl harvest (48% rounds, wow!), his farming operation, pearl characteristics of this year's harvest and much more!...
    04-08-2021, 11:55 PM

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