Destinations

Live from Tucson, Ariz.: Mini Mabé Sea of Cortez Pearls Are the Cutest Gems You’ll See Today

Mini mabé pearls are about the size of a pinky nail and cost $75 apiece triple keystone; find them today at Perlas Del Mar De Cortez at booth 508 in GJX or email doug.mclaurin@outlook.com.

Tucson, Ariz. Feb. 9, 2020. Iridescent purple, green, blue, gold, and peachy-pink overtone pearls from the Sea of Cortez already stand out in the sea of gems at the Gem & Jewellery Exchange (GJX) show for their unique colors and shapes, but the newer mini mabé pieces are next-level cuteness for making tiny treasures.

Douglas McLaurin is a co-owner at Perlas Del Mar De Cortez, at booth 508, and is from Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, where Sea of Cortez pearls grow in the rainbow-lipped Pteria sterna mollusk. The pearls from this variety differ from other black-lipped-oyster pearls in that they consistently have silvery-pink colors and are often grown as mabé pearls, though rarer drops, semi-round, and baroque pearls are also available. Most of McLaurin’s mabé pearls range in size from a nickel to a half dollar, though last year he introduced a mini mabé at the request of a client.

“She wanted a tiny gem to set into jewelry with less metal, to let the pearls speak,” he explains.

He responded by custom cutting tiny mabé pearls from his regular inventory (he didn’t culture smaller sizes). He scalped mabé with flawless domes but defects around their base, a resourceful move that created a new size category. Mini mabé pearls are about the size of a pinky nail and super limited in quantity.

“We only have about 10 percent of everything we brought left,” says McLaurin.

Prices per mini mabé are $75 triple keystone. These pearls are not treated and are the only pearls that officially bear the coveted Fair Trade label.

The GJX show closes today at 4 pm.

Mini mabé pearls are about the size of a pinky nail and cost $75 apiece triple keystone; find them today at Perlas Del Mar De Cortez at booth 508 in GJX or email doug.mclaurin@outlook.com.

Mini mabé pearls are about the size of a pinky nail and cost $75 apiece triple keystone; find them today at Perlas Del Mar De Cortez at booth 508 in GJX or email doug.mclaurin@outlook.com

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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