Blister pearls -and Mabe pearls, their modern equivalent- have been coveted, enjoyed, and worn for Centuries. But these products are not equivalent to actual pearls. Most pearl farmers consider Mabe pearls (also known as “Half-Pearls”) as a side-product, used by pearl farmers to supplement their yearly income.
These pearls can be considered as “Pearls-on-a-Shell”, since they will be attached to the mollusk’s inner shell, either as an accident (as in the case of natural blister pearls) or induced (as in cultured Mabe pearls). Due to their origin -always being attached to the shell- they will always display a “flat face”.
One thing that is especially important to consider about this variety of pearl is that they are always processed. The minimum processing will be to cut it from the mollusk’s shell where it was grown, but many more processes can be applied on these pearls, and because of this they are considered a “composite pearl”.
This chapter’s goal is to help you understand the way these pearls are created -both naturally and by farming-, processed and employed, as well as to recognize the most common varieties available in the markets today.
We hope you find this information useful and sure to expand your pearl knowledge.
Assorted Cultured Mabe pearls.
Coming Next: History of Blister Pearls