Mabe Pearl Grading - 7) Dome Height

Part of the beauty of a Mabe pearl comes from its “dome” (height). When a Mabe pearl displays a low dome it most closely resembles a piece of mother-of-pearl shell than an actual pearl. Unfortunately, many Mabe pearls today are grown too flat, due to the intrinsic characteristic of the host shell: Pinctada shells are usually flatter than Pteria shells (the shells being much more concave) which does not allow for the use of tall implants, since these will touch the opposite shell and will cause the pearl to fail.

Mabe with high dome also have an uneven nacre deposition, with the “crown” (the topmost portion of the dome) having little nacre and the bottom (near the shell) having a much better nacre coating. Regardless, Mabe with a higher dome are considered more valuable.

Closing Remarks
Mabe pearls are a unique pearl product, but not equal to actual cultured pearls. The fact that they always have a flat size and are heavily processed make them quite different. These pearls have been integrated into this course mainly because this knowledge offers you a deeper understanding into the wide world of pearls.

Mabe are most often relegated to the status of an easier form of income for pearl farmers that are just starting their farms (since they are produced in less time) or to supplement the farm’s income at the moment of harvest, but many varieties are not only attractive, but valuable as well.
fetch?id=449879&d=1617484700.jpg -  mini-mabe' Sea of Cortez pearl necklace from Kojima Pearl Company

A unique Cortez Mabe Pearl necklace. Photo courtesy of “Kojima Pearls”.

Previous Entries on the Subject:

1) Mabe Pearl Size
2) Mabe Pearl Shapes
3) Mabe Pearl Colors
4) Mabe Pearl Luster
5) Mabe Pearl Surface Quality
6) Mabe Pearl Nacre Quality
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