Mabe Pearl or Cultured Blister?

Mabe Pearl or Cultured Blister? A pearl is a concretion of biomineralized aragonite and/or calcite with minor organic matter (conchiolin) produced inside a pearl sac in the interior of marine or freshwater molluscs. A cultured pearl is basically the same, but formed with human intervention inside a cultured pearl sac. The so-called "mabe pearls" are not however, technically, pearls in the sense that they do not grow inside a pearl sac. In fact, these are protuberances in the shell’s nacreous interior that form as a consequence of a culturing process, being defined as cultured blisters, that are worked, cut from the shell (soft nuclei removed), the interior filled with a hardened substance and finished with a mother-of-pearl cap glued to the base, making it an assembled product, hence an assembled cultured blister. The name “mabe” comes from the Japanese vernacular for Pteria penguin (mabe-gai), a pearl oyster that was extensively used to produce these cultured blisters. In the images, a strand of bead cultured pearls, an assortment of cultured blisters, a pendant and one still on the shell, grown in the rainbow-lipped pearl oyster or “ostra nácar” (Pteria sterna) in Guayamas, Gulf of California, Mexico © Perlas del Mar de Cortez

Source: Rui Galopim de Carvalho / Portugal Gemas Academy

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