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Pearl Buying Guide

Mabe Pearl Fast Facts

Shape: Dome, hemispherical
Size Range: 8.0mm – 15.0mm (average 10.0mm-13.0mm)
Colors: Cream, white, champagne, gold, silver, green, peacock
Rarity: Common
Origin: Australia, Indonesia, Philippines
Mollusk: Silver lipped oyster, Black lipped oyster, Penguin oyster
Grow Time: 2-6 years (depending upon size desired)

Although Mabe pearls are among the lowest priced pearls, there is an argument as to whether they should be called pearls at all. Because of the process, some believe that they should be called composite pearls since the backing isn't really pearl and there is just a thin dome of nacre.

How to Grade South Sea Pearls

South Sea Pearls have the same grading system as Freshwater pearls which is as follows:


Excellent luster
Best grade of necklace-quality freshwater pearl
Clean surface of 95% or better
Round to near round shape
Top 1% of freshwater pearls produced
Superior matching


Best grade of Mabe pearl
Mabe pearls appear to be nearly round from a yard away
90% or better of the surface is clean
Matching is good to excellent


Good to average luster
Near round to off-round
Slight surface blemishing is visible on less than 20% of surface
Matching is considered to be good to moderate


Average to low luster
Shape is near round to slightly off-round
Moderate blemishing is present over less than 30% of surface
The matching is considered good to moderate

Mabe Pearls Colors

Mabe pearls come in an amazing range of beautiful pearl colors, which range from light pinks, to more bluish shades. Thanks to the unique nacre of the Mabe oyster, the hues are both rainbow-like and brilliant. Their rarest colors of pink with gold swirls are the rarest colors available. This type of color, as well as their superiority in texture and luster brings a higher value to these pearls. They are very lovely to look at but not near as expensive or valuable as round pearls.