The South Sea Pearl Blog

  • Understanding colour in cultured pearls is fascinating.

    Understanding colour in cultured pearls is fascinating.
    Understanding colour in cultured pearls is fascinating. The causes are varied, namely organic pigments and the chemistry related to the water reservoir where the pearl shell is grown (for example, sea water and freshwater have different manganese concentrations with impact on the color of the nacre). The pearl mollusc species is, of course, one of the most important factors in this process, specially the donor specimen that provides the mantle tissue graft (known as saibo) that is inserted in the gonads or mantle (depending on the culturing method) of a productive pearl mollusc for the formation of the cultured pearl sac. Experiments in xenotransplantation (meaning graft from one species in host mollusc of another species) have demonstrated that colour is controlled mostly by the genetic characteristics of the graft in cultured pearls. Still there with me after some pearl jargon?
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  • What do you know about Mabe Pearls?

    What do you know about Mabe Pearls?
     For a pearl product to be called a pearl it needs to be formed inside a pearl sac in the interior of pearl producing mollusc. A cultured pearl is basically the same, but resulting from human intervention. When a pearl sac, that is a closed cell membrane, is not involved, the gem material is not a pearl, but something else.
    The so-called mabe pearls (or hankei pearls) are great examples for this as, technically, these are not 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 human-instigated process, being defined as cultured blisters. To be used in jewellery, these cultured shell blisters 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, a more correct designation would be assembled cultured blister.
    The name “mabe” comes from the Japanese vernacular for Pteria penguin (mabe-gai), a pearl producing mollusc that was originally used to grown these cultured blisters, and it has been used as a more romantic trade name for similar products from other molluscs.

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  • 🧐 How do Oyster makes colored pearls?

    🧐 How do Oyster makes colored pearls? | The South Sea Pearl

    How do Oyster makes Colored Pearls?

    This is a question that arises to many when they begin to discover the world of pearls, since traditionally it has been thought that the natural color of pearls is white.
    For many years it has been like that, with Akoya pearls from Japan, fresh water pearls in China and the coveted Australian pearls.
    But there are other pearl colors, like the golden of South Sea pearls in Philippines or Indonesia, or the black pearls of French Polynesia, whose natural color is not white.

    Why do pearls take this color?

    There is a type of oyster called Pinctada Maxima, which in some regions of the world such as the Philippines or Indonesia has golden lips. The pearl, when formed, absorbs the golden nacre and adopts that color.
    The same process occurs with the black pearls of Tahiti, but in this case with the Pinctada Margaritifera oyster, in French Polynesia.

    Another factor that can influence the color of pearls, although to a lesser extent, is the temperature of the water and how clean it is. For pearls to adopt a beautiful color the water must be extremely clean.

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