Every now and then, nature has the power to deceive us. At first glance, the hard, pearly interior of a mollusk shell might seem like nothing more than a quirk of evolution—and one that looks quite pretty by our own human standards. Mother-of-pearl, or “nacre,” is the same substance as the outermost layer of an actual pearl. Yet when found inside mollusks like oysters, mussels and various cephalopods, the material has strength and resilience that protects the creature’s soft tissue within from parasites and foreign particles. And while nacre formation remains something of a mystery, from this “ugliness” comes something beautiful. They are cultured widely primarily in the central and eastern Indo-Pacific.
Aiverc's black mother of pearl shells, the dark, silky gems from the Lombok are cultured in Indonesia. This black-lipped oyster shell, with its lustrous coloring, is world-renowned.
Designers use the Black Mother of Pearl shells for interior decoration in the form of tiles and paneling, also in the fashion industry for high-end jewelry or pearl shell buttons.
The oysters are cultured in a hatchery before going into crystal clear tropical lagoons. Historically each shell would have undergone two or three seedings before being harvested, however, a recent change in operating practices has meant most Black MOP shells have been through only one seeding process when they are harvested. These shells tend to be smaller and thinner, but still with the beautiful vibrant peacock coloring.
A protection stone, Mother of Pearl brings the gentle healing power of the sea. It is a stress-relieving stone; relaxing, soothing and calming to the emotions. Mother of Pearl stimulates our intuition, imagination, sensitivity, and adaptability. It helps our emotions become more harmonious and balanced. Calming and soothing to temper or feelings of fear. It enables you to more easily express feelings of love. Mother of Pearl helps with clarity in decision making and is helpful for endurance, organization and for home life.
Mother of Pearl has been used in jewelry, furniture and musical instrument since the Bronze Age of the Shang Dynasty.
There has been an evidence of Mother of Pearl being highly regarded in Mesopotamia, as it was often used to honor royalty far back as 2600 B.C. Similarly in Egypt, MOP as been discovered in ancient pyramids and tombs to higher class citizens.
Religious followers on pilgrimage journeys to Bethlehem would often take pieces of Mother of Pearl derived from the Red Sea as a souvenir. Bethlehem was able to capitalize on this opportunity because of Franciscan monks who taught the craft in the 15th century. Their craftsmanship has continued into modern day, as Mother of Pearl art is a highly respected industry.
Mother-of-pearl decorative usage shows that it can serve a functional purpose too. Walk through the corridors of the Victoria & Albert Museum and you’ll spot mother-of-pearl in 18th-century snuff boxes, on a pair of 17th-century bellows, on lacquered Korean jewellery boxes and Victorian teething rings.
While we might see it as a lustrous material, used mostly for ornamental flourishes, mother-of-pearl has long been chosen by artisans for its durability and strength.