Mother Of Pearl Silver Jewelry: Origins, Facts and Care

April 1st, 2022 by admin Leave a reply »

Mother of Pearl Origins

Mother of Pearl or Nacre forms in the shells of bi-valve mollusks found in salt and fresh water. These mollusks are found around the world from the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia to the Gulfs of Mexico, Panama and Venezuela.

Abalone Oysters ‘Haliotis’

Used in trade for thousands of years Abalone oysters are found in abundance around the world. As well as being produced for their meat, they are an excellent source of highly iridescent Mother of Pearl and Pearl, ranging in beautiful colors from turquoise, green, cream and rose.

Green Abalone ‘Haliotis Fulgens’

Green Abalone thrives in the cold and rocky waters in the Gulf of California. They are often encrusted with small clams that adhere to their surface whose presence gives rise to the creation of blister pearls within the Abalone. Blister pearls are formed when the clams bore into the shell from the outside, the Abalone responds in defense to the intrusion by secreting layers of nacre, which coat the foreign body on the inside of the shell eventually solidifying forming natural blister pearls.

Black-Lipped Oyster ‘Pinctada Margaritifera’

Harvested since millennia, the black-lipped oyster, covering the widest geographical area of any known species, was the preferred color of Mother of Pearl of Indian and Persian monarchs. However, despite this oysters name the nacre is rarely pure black, instead the colors range from gray to green with blue or rose overtones. Mother of Pearl produced by Pacific black-lipped oysters is the most sought after on the world’s market today.

Silver-Lipped Oyster ‘Pinctada Maxima’

Sometimes referred to as the gold-lipped oyster, these giants have been harvested for their Mother of Pearl for more than a hundred years in the South Pacific. They were first cultured for its pearls in the late 1800s but only became widely distributed in the late 19th Century. Today the silver or white Mother of Pearl or Nacre produced by this oyster is the mainstay of the Australian, Japanese and Philippine cultured pearl industries.

Ayoka Oyster ‘Pinctada Fucata’

Japan is famous for its Ayoka pearl producing oysters, but this has only been the case since the 1920s. Before this time Japanese divers placed little value on Ayoka pearls, discarding them and keeping the Mother of Pearl, which was used as decorative inlay in jewelry and household ornamentation. By the 1950s, with new culturing techniques, Akoya Mother of Pearl and pearl had won widespread popularity and is now exported worldwide.

Ceylon Oyster ‘Pinctada Radiata’

From the time of antiquity up to the 1920s the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf supplied the world’s demand for Mother of Pearl and pearl. The source of the majority of Mother of Pearl came from the Ceylon oyster, known as ‘Bil-bil’ by the fishermen of the Red Sea. The large demand almost drove this particular species to extinction but remarkably this oyster has endured the ravages of time and new techniques in cultivation have seen numbers increase.


Comments are closed.