You may have heard of them out and about in jewelry shops, but exactly what are mabe pearls? Mabe pearls are an assembly composed of a nacre dome, filler, and mother-of-pearl backing. They retain the luster of a traditional pearl, but are created a very different way. Let’s take a closer look.
It helps to think of mabe pearls like a blister, bubbling up from a mollusk’s inner shell. To initiate the process, a skilled nucleator (the technician responsible for culturing pearls) inserts a half-bead into a mollusk’s shell and affixes it to the inner wall under the soft mantle tissue. The mollusk then deposits layer after layer of nacre, forming a dome that conceals the half-bead.
After a year within the shell, technicians remove and separate the dome from the shell, then cull out the inner bead. The dome is packed with filler and backed with mother-of-pearl for strength. The result looks very much like half a pearl: a smooth, round side with a flat back.
Jewelers may choose mabe pearls for designs that require larger sizes with less weight and height. Pearl earrings and pendants are most often the chosen expression. What are mabe pearls? Just another way to bring a little luster into your life.