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With its showy, oversized shape and shimmering rainbow-like luster, a mabe pearl offers the look of a South Sea pearl for a fraction of the price.
The mabe pearl gets its name from the type of mollusk in which it is grown, the Pteria penguin, which is called "mabe-gai" in Japanese. A mabe pearl is actually a cultured blister pearl that is grown differently than other cultured pearls. Instead of being grown inside the body of a mollusk creature, a mabe pearl is grown against the inside of the shell. This allows the mabe pearl to develop a dome shape with a flat back, and is why mabe pearls are sometimes referred to as "half pearls".
To create a mabe pearl, a hemispherical nucleus is inserted into the shell beneath the mantle tissue. The mollusk is then returned to the water to allow layers of lustrous nacre to develop. After many, many months, the blister pearl is cut away from the inner shell, the nucleus is removed and the hollow cavity is backed by a mother-of-pearl plate.
Even with the help of man, creating a mabe pearl is a time consuming process. Just the craft of seeding a mabe oyster takes years of training to master. However, the glistening, iridescent mabe pearls are well worth the wait.
Mabe pearls provide a dramatic look for less than you'd expect. Depending on the setting used, mabe pearls can have a classic to contemporary feel. The mabe pearl's flat back makes the gem ideal for earring, pendant and ring designs. Ross-Simons' jewelry buyers choose gold and sterling silver for their settings and search out one-of-a-kind Estate mabe pearl pieces.
Mabe pearls are grown in saltwater oysters off the coast of Japan, Indonesia, Australia and French Polynesia.
Ross-Simons presents a stellar collection of mabe pearl jewelry, including rings, earrings, pendants and unique Estate pieces. Browse our website at www.ross-simons.com to see what fabulous mabe pearl finds await you!
Like all pearl jewelry, mabe pearls are on the softer side (2.5-4.5 on the Mohs scale) and need some special care. Avoid getting perfume, hair spray, cosmetics or any beauty products on your mabe pearl jewelry as these items could damage the pearls' luster. To clean your mabe pearl jewelry, wipe with a soft cloth after each wearing. You can use mild soapy water once in awhile for a deeper cleaning. Make sure your mabe pearl rings, earrings and pendants are dry before wearing. Store your mabe pearl jewelry separately in your Ross-Simons presentation box.