The Use of 'Mother of Pearl'

Most everyone is familiar with pearls, those gems from nature (developed inside an oyster shell). However, ‘Mother of Pearl’ or Nacre (derived from the Arabic word for shell, “naqqarah”) is the organic, iridescent material that makes up the inside lining of various mollusks’ shells, such as oysters, mussels and abalone. The outer layer of a natural pearl is made of this material and that’s where it gets its recognizable sheen. The phrase “mother of pearl” can refer to either the pearl or the shell of the creature in which it’s found. Pearls are created when a tiny particle of sand or bone is trapped inside an oyster and the organism secretes calcium carbonate that grows and hardens around the piece of sand. As long as the pearl is nestled in the oyster, covered by calcium carbonate and the soft, shimmery outer layer, the pearl continues to grow. Some countries cherish the pearl, whereas others worship the mother of pearl shell lining, considered the source and mother of the pearl’s beauty. mother of pearl is actually nacre. A pearl, on the other hand, is formed by layers of nacre. mother of pearl is actually nacre. So the inner lining of the shell is important.

Your family members and ancestors may well have items made of Mother of Pearl. The jewelry of Mother of Pearl is timeless and classic. If you’re looking for antique pearls, their popularity does make the search a little more complex, since you have to be able to distinguish the real from the fake.

Items made from Mother of Pearl are generally larger designs and pieces because it comes from the entire interior of the oyster’s shell. Jewelry pieces will be slightly rounded and very thin. Mother of pearl is typically cream, white, or off-white, but can also be found as gray, silver, yellow, black, blue-green, purple, and red in rarer varieties. The color depends on the type of mollusk from which it’s found. There can also be a more iridescent appearance of the mother of pearl.

Besides jewelry; earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets, also buttons for clothing were made of Mother of Pearl. It is used in decorative pieces for the home. They were also used in the decorative grips of firearms and other types of guns. The handles of spoons can have the mother of pearl. Musical instruments can have inlay in the music keys, fingerboard or buttons on other instruments.

So there is a variety of items made with Mother of Pearl. See how many you can find with relatives and heirlooms handed down.

Photo: Buttons made of Mother of Pearl.

Related Blogs:

Tradition of Pearls

Family Traditions

Finding Family Heirlooms

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