Glossary of Pearl Terms M

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Mabe: Originally, the Japanese trade term for an assembled blister pearl grown in Pteria penguin. In Japanese, that mollusk's name is mabe-gai, hence the pearl's name. Today, the word is used to describe any assembled blister pearl.

Maeshori: Originally in Japan, a deep-cleaning process used before bleaching
Akoya cultured pearls. Today, "maeshori" (literally, "before treatment") retains its original meaning, but is also the name of several treatments used to enhance the luster or most Chinese freshwater, and some South Sea and most Akoya cultured pearls.

Magan Moshe Pearl: Natural abalone pearl weighing 349.41 carats. It was purchased by Moshe Pereg and given its name in 1989.

Majhoolah: Historical Persian quality factor describing a blister pearl from which a round and better pearl might be removed by peeling.

Majorica pearl: Imitation pearl created by coating a glass nucleus with essence d' orient. The pearly essence is made from guanine crystals extracted from scales on the undersides of certain fish.

Manihiki Pearl Producers Association: Association of Pinctada margaritifera cumingi pearl producers in the Cook Islands.

Mantle: Organ lining the shell of freshwater and saltwater bivalve mollusks.

Mantle graft tissue: tiny piece of tissue cut from a donor mollusk's mantle and implanted with or without a bead nucleus in a host mollusk to produce a cultured pearl. The outer epidermis of the mantle is made up of epithelial cells that secrete nacre.

Maona pearl: Samoan term for imitation pearl created from the operculum of Turbo petholatus.

Margarita: Greek and Latin word for pearl.

Margaritifera: Genus's name (capital M) applied to a group of freshwater mussels, and the species name (lowercase m, genus Pinctada) applied to the black-lip pearl mollusk. The literal translation means "Producer of pearls".

Master set: Group of pearls used for comparison to assess the quality characteristics of cultured pearls submitted for grading.

Matching: Matching pearls for uniformity in a strand or piece of finished jewelry.

Matinee length: Pearl necklace measuring 20 to 24 inches (50 to 60 cm).

Mature pearl: Natural pearl described as being of the most beautiful water (see).

Melo pearl: Natural non-nacreous pearl found in the Melo melo marine gastropod.

Mikimi: Trade name for second or third grade Majorica imitation pearls.

Mikimoto, Kokichi: (March 10, 1858 - September 21, 1954) First person to commercially produce spherical cultured pearls using the Mise-Nishikawa method of pearl culture, which that pair learned from Englishman-turned-Australian William Saville-Kent.

Ming Pearls: Large beaded freshwater pearls grown in the mollusk gonad in lieu of the mantle. See also Edison Pearls.

Miyoko pearls: Imitation pearls marketed in Germany in 1983.

Mise-Nishikawa method: Method of saltwater pearl culture by which a bead nucleus and piece of donor-mollusk mantle tissue are implanted in the gonad of a host mollusk. The technique was first developed by Englishman-turned-Australian William Saville-Kent.

Mise, Tatsuhei: With Tokishi Nishikawa, credited (probably erroneously) in the early 1900s with developing the method of saltwater whole pearl culture still used today.

Mitsubishi pearls: First pearls produced in Pinctada maxima by Dr. Sukeyo Fujita between 1928 and 1932 on the Malaysian Island of Sulawesi. The project was financed by Baron Iwasaki of the Mitsubishi Company.

Mollusk: Any invertebrate belonging to the phylum Mollusca. Includes clams, mussels, oysters, scallops, conchs, snails, abalone, chitons, squids and octopi.

Momme: Japanese weight unit used to valuate cultured pearls. One momme equals 3.75 grams.

Mother-of-pearl (MOP): Iridescent layer (principally calcium carbonate and conchiolin) lining the inner shell of some mollusk species. When it coats a bead to form a cultured pearl or is part of a natural, tissue-cultured or keshi pearl, it's called nacre.

Muta'a: Historical Persian quality factor describing baroque pearls.