Fake Mabe Pearls

Dear Orchid,

A while back was an article in Professional Jeweler magazine about
fake mabe pearls. Indicated was that thousands of these were sold to
the unsuspecting (and the suspecting, perhaps) during the mid to late
90’s. The fakes have a cap, like a “contact lens” cemented to the
base. The base is a domed form and that in turn covered with a
bottom cap of fake mother of pearl.

Now, I have seen “mabes” where the dome has come off. These had a
bottom cap of real mother of pearl. In shame, I ask myself, was thi=
a fake mabe?

My understanding is the mabe or “blister pearl” contains the shell as
the base and the interior is whatever form of mop the pearl grower
inserts into the oyster. So, the entire pearl should be a unit. =
I correct in that assumption? I have heard no comment from retail
jewelers or suppliers about the fake mabes.

Anyone more familiar with these pearls might be able to help with a
complete explanation of what to look for in mabe pearls without using
destructive acid testing. All comments will be appreciated!!

Thomas, professional bench jeweler. @Sp.T

hi; in my experance i have had ‘‘mabee pearls’’ come apart when left
in attack to long. many of these pearls are indeed a blister that
has been filled with resin and the white mother of pearl cap is put
there to increase the strength not to fake. naturally occuring
blisters are hollow and need to be filled so they don’t break under
normal handling. if anything i would think those that did not have
the caps would be the ‘‘fakes’’ as they would be man made and not
natural… ringman