The Mother of Pearl is known internationally under the name of “ Nacre “, a term that derives from the Arabic word “ naqqarah ”, Which means shell or shell.

It was Queen Elizabeth I who gave the name “Mother of Pearl” to this shiny material in the 16th century, already known in 3,000 BC. C. to embellish jewelry and objects. The name also alludes to the fact that shells are, so to speak, the “mothers” of pearls.

The Mother of Pearl is composed of calcium carbonate. The innermost and iridescent layer of molluscs, oysters or mussels is called Mother of Pearl. The colors of the mother of pearl differ according to the species and geographical origin.

The Mother of Pearl has been used for many centuries for the preparation of precious jewels and art objects. In China they discovered already in the centuries before the birth of Christ that, by inserting small figures of saints inside still living molluscs, it was possible in a short time to find them entirely covered with Mother of Pearl. These sculptures represented the deities and, in the hope that they would bring luck to men, they were brought inside religious temples.

The American anthropologist Carlos Castaneda said that the Yaqui Indians of Mexico used to wear mother-of-pearl necklaces called “hopo’orosim”, which they were supposed to protect from evil.

In the 1920s the Sumerian tombs in Babylon were opened and among the finds emerged a rich treasure of gold, silver, precious stones, as well as numerous wooden ornaments and musical instruments covered with mother of pearl.

During the reign of Elizabeth I, the demand for Mother of Pearl grew incredibly and was used for the production of all types of jewelry. Mother of pearl is still very popular today, especially in the watch industry, as well as for artistic objects, buttons and inlaid decorations.

There are several varieties of Mother of Pearl. Very common is the mother of pearl of the pearl shell, which can reach almost 5 kg in weight. The base color is normally white, except for the Tahitian Mother of Pearl which is darker. Very particular is the mother of pearl of the New Zealand Paua shells. Due to their opulence of colors, their intense brilliance in blue and green tones and their resemblance to Black Opal, they are often called Sea Opal.

• How to care for jewelry with Mother of pearl

The Mother of Pearl is very delicate and scratches easily. For this reason it is recommended to clean it carefully with a damp cloth.


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