Materials story

What are mabe pearls?

Mabe pearls are the pearls that couldn’t bear to separate from the oyster. Grown next to the shell instead of inside the flesh of the oyster, they attach to the mother-of-pearl interior.

Mabe pearls are also known by the name “blister pearls” (while the term “mabe” is more specifically used for the blister pearls that have been treated by cutting, filling and reattaching to the shell, it’s the name that in common use expanded to the whole category of unworked pearls). Ammonart mabe pearls are untouched, except to create the shape of the piece of jewelry, gild with gold leaf and protect the gilding with transparent lacquer.

I love working with mabe pearls because of the infinite variety of the shapes and tones, which invite a unique approach to each piece. Sets are carefully matched for character and gilded with the complete theme in mind. They are a wearable art – with mabe, each piece is as unique as a painting.

What are ammonites?

Ammonites are 65 million years old crystallized fossils of ancient mollusks. The name derives from the ram-headed Ancient Egyptian god Ammon, due to similarity in shape to ram’s horns.

They come in sizes from the tiny 1/4″ to giants like this 8′ specimen. Due to different conditions and types of soil, they come in a variety of colors and with varied amount of crystallization within the chambers. Gold-like pyrite ammonites, for example, are  fairly rare and mostly very small; the black ones are more rare than the ammonites in earth tones. The outer shell occasionally retains the deep mother-of-pearl, reddish or green glints.

The feel of all the history behind each one is humbling, and the beauty of their stone rebirth demands that I give full attention to the original shape when working with them. As with mabe, I feel that working with material, not conquering it, is where the magic of art and harmony come from.