How Mother of Pearl Is Different Than Pearls?

How Mother of Pearl Is Different Than Pearls?

In some mollusks the shell’s inner layer is formed from an iridescent substance, which is known as ‘Mother of Pearl’. There is a difference between pearls and mother of pearls, even though the substance is same – nacre or calcium carbonate material. Nacre gets secreted by oysters as self-defense for soft inner tissue protection.

Pearl is created when foreign object enters inside the oyster’s shell and it encases this with nacre to protect itself. The thin nacre layer that coats the inside the shell layer is called mother of pearl. Both fall under organic jewelry category as they originate from living creatures but their iridescent quality differs. Read the full info here.

Difference in looks

Mother of pearls display distinct multi-colored effect and faint glow. All oyster shells don’t have nacre coating but something that looks smooth like porcelain. Even if pearl farming sector is developing, there is no guarantee that an oyster will produce a gem-quality pearl but they are capable to form mother of pearls.

Diversity in value

Mother of pearl is easily accessible and less rare. Therefore, it is supplied in large quantity, so is an affordable option. Pearls jewelry retains value eternally but this is not correct for mother of pearl jewelries.


Even though mother of pearls are widely available because of increased pearl farming activities, it is still ignored in jewelry sector. It is because of unwillingness to support unnatural pearl farming practice. Using it is still regarded as using ivory or coral in a jewelry – unfavorable.


Mother of pearls is mainly used in jewelry but designers are using it to decorate home interiors like form mosaic tile designs. It is also used in musical instruments like accordions, harmonica, guitars, and ouds. You will even find mother of pearl wrist watch dials, buttons and cufflinks.


Indiscernible bead shapes are carved from mother of pearls in the form of square, birds, spades, hearts, flat round, rectangular, flat oval, crosses, clubs, etc. Sometimes the carved shapes are also used for pendants. The surface texture is unusual but this variance is interesting as it makes each jewelry piece special and unique.

Mother of pearl shape, size, or color does not matter because there are infinite possibilities of using it. It is light in weight, so works well in designing any jewelry ranging from necklaces to earrings.

Categories: Wedding

About Author