Mother of Pearl

Discovered in ancient times by the Chinese and beloved by Elizabeth I, Mother of Pearl is a natural miracle with an intense shimmer that displays every color of the rainbow.

Etymology

Mother of Pearl is internationally known as ‘Nacre,’ a term derived from Arab word ‘Naqquarahm' meaning shell.

It was Queen Elizabeth I who gave this luminous material, used to embellish jewelry and objects since 3000 B.C., the name ‘Mother of Pearl' in the 17th century. The name alludes to the fact that a shell is, in a manner of speaking, the ‘mother’ of pearls.

Mother of pearl

Mother Of Pearl

Chemical composition of Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl is composed of calcium carbonate. The innermost and most iridescent layer of mollusks, oysters and mussels. Mother of Pearl's colors depend on species and geographical location.

The history of Mother of Pearl

The marvelous iridescent colors of the mother of pearl

The wonderful iridescent colors of Mother Of Pearl

Mother of Pearl has been used in precious jewelry and art objects for centuries. In China, in the centuries before the birth of Christ, they discovered that inserting small figurines of saints into live mollusks resulted in their being covered entirely in Mother of Pearl in a short period of time. These sculptures represented gods and, hoping that they might bring luck to men, were placed within religious temples.

American anthropologist Carlos Castaneda recounts that the Yaqui tribe of Mexico wore necklaces of Mother of Pearl called ‘hopo’orosim,' designed to ward off evil.

During the 1920s, Sumerian tombs were unearthed in Babylon, and from them emerged a wealth of gold, silver, precious stones and numerous wooden ornaments and musical instruments covered with mother of pearl.

During the reign of Elizabeth I, demand for Mother of Pearl exploded, and the material was used for the production of all kinds of jewels. To this day, Mother of Pearl is popular, particularly in the watchmaking industry, and for artistic objects, buttons and inlaid decorations.

The mother of pearl

Mother Of Pearl

Varieties of Mother of Pearl

There are several different varieties of Mother of Pearl. Mother of Pearl from perliferous shells is very common, with shells that can reach almost 5 kg. The base color is generally white, except for Tahitian Mother of Pearl, which is rare. A unique Mother of Pearl is found in New Zealand Paua shells. Due to their color play, intense brilliance in blues and greens, and their similarity to Black Opal, they are often called the Opals of the Sea.

Care for Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl is very delicate and scratches easily. Therefore, it should only be cleaned with a damp cloth.