Are Pearls Processed?
Our Cortez Pearls just require the barest processing after they are harvested: they are washed clean under water and patted dry. That is all we do to our loose pearls... so when you get one, you know it is a Natural Gem.
Mabe pearls, on the other hand, do have to be processed in order to be set in jewelry. They are cut from the shell by means of lapidary tools; the plastic implant is removed from the pearl so we are left with a hollow dome of nacre (mother-of-pearl).
This hollowed area is then filled up with an epoxy resin, and a piece of mother-of-pearl shell is attached to the backside. All other kinds of mabe pearls are subjected to this same processing, but we take special care to not over-process them.
This short video describes the process.
Our pearls will always possess their all-natural colors and luster; they do not need any artificial enhancing.
This is one reason why our Cortez Cultured Pearls and Mabe are listed as a Fair Trade Gem: product integrity is a must for this certification and some processing schemes are not good for the pearl's beauty or endurance over time.