Mabe pearls are cultured blister pearls that form on the pearl oyster's shell rather than in its soft tissues. A mold made of plastic or other material inserted between the pearl oyster's shell and body causes the pearl oyster to produce layers of nacre over the mold, which is eventually cut from the shell. These two species of thin-shelled pearl oysters, the most common sources of mabé pearls, also produce free pearls less frequently
This process causes mabe pearls to have a flat side, as opposed to being relatively spherical, or at least rounded like standard pearls. This also explains why mabe pearls are frequently called “half pearls”. Mabe pearls are most frequently produced within saltwater oysters within the regions of Japan, Indonesia, Australia, and French Polynesia.
Mabe pearls come in a wide range of beautiful pearl colors, which span from light pinks, to more bluish shades. The unique nacre of the mabe oyster allows for hues that are quite brilliant and rainbow-like. Their brilliance is quite breathtaking at times, especially in the rarest color, which consists of pink with gold swirls.
It is this type of color which brings the value to the mabe pearls, as well as their rare superiority in texture and luster. Though they are quite lovely to look at, they will not be as expensive or valuable as “round” pearls due to the flat side.