Mother of pearl jewelry is back. Not just that it is here again, but it is also starting a revolution in the fashion industry. Held in high esteem for the unique shine it gives the piece, the mother of pearl has become one of the most desired organic materials to shoulder her classic style, based on the principles of sophistication and gracefulness. Keep reading to find more about this look that gives women’s jewelry a whole new dimension.
WHAT IS MOTHER OF PEARL?
Unlike minerals, mother of pearl is formed by a living organism; hence, its categorization as an organic gem. It comes from the multicolored nacre coating of the mollusk, which consists of a blend of minerals that protect it from parasites and foreign objects. Quite often, mother of pearl is mistaken for the outer part of a pearl, while actually it is the shiny, thin layer of nacre that is attached directly to the mollusk's shell. The conclusion? Mother of pearl and pearl are two different materials, although they both come from the same place. Mollusks without an iridescent quality cannot produce mother of pearl.
Mother of pearl is remarkable for the multicolor effect and the beautiful shimmer that make extraordinary pieces of jewelry. Thanks to these characteristics, it is also referred to as the “moonlike” gemstone. Despite the fact that it is a relatively soft gemstone, mother of pearl has been used for a very long time in various industries, from jewelry to architecture.
Mother of Pearl Bead Necklace
THE MOP’S STYLE EVOLUTION
The first official mother-of-pearl appearances in the fashion world took place in 13th century Britain, representing the highly-prized buttons of the royalty’s garments. This style has soon switched to a tradition, so today, we can still see mother-of-pearl buttons on the suits and dresses of the royal family, many of them being left as a heritage from previous generations.
However, there is a gemological evidence showing that the origins of mother of pearl jewelry date back to 2600 B.C Mesopotamia, where it was used in silver settings to create adornments for the ruler and his closest people. In ancient Egypt, mother of pearl jewelry was worn only by high-class citizens and it was treasured as a lucky charm. Due to its importance and value in the Egyptian culture, this organic material was also applied to the making of pyramids, which was later discovered and officially confirmed by renowned historians. Native American tribes were other huge admirers of mother of pearl jewelry, known for their thousand-year-old jewelry crafting skills. They developed new silversmithing techniques, some of which have introduced the basics of modern silversmithing.
The truth is, mother of pearl looks incredibly aesthetic and it can be used decoratively in many different ways. When it comes to jewelry in particular, artisans rely on its complexity to create irresistible necklaces, bracelets, earrings and fashion rings. This smooth, iridescent material comes in a multitude of shiny, rainbow hues mixed together, ranging from charming pinks to stunning blue-greens. They perfectly display how magnificent and savory mother of pearl truly is.
Mother of Pearl Ring with Diamonds
NATURAL OR MAN-MADE?
Like most gems on the jewelry market, mother of pearl is also available as natural and man-made. (*other popular terms for “man-made” are: lab-created, lab-grown, synthetic, cultured, etc.) Clearly, natural mother of pearl is the more expensive option, due to the fact that it is extremely rare; it takes at least three years for a mollusk to produce the thin layer of nacre and many complex processes to make it ready to work with. Shopping man-made mother of pearl jewelry, on the other hand, is a way better alternative in several aspects:
1. It is cheaper.
2. It is environmental-friendly.
3. It is trendy.
Mother of Pearl Dangle Earrings
WEARING & MAINTENANCE
Acquiring mother of pearl jewelry may not be as easy, neither is keeping it into a good shape. Here are the DOs and DON’Ts to stick to:
» DO wear it often.
It might seem unusual, but the more mother of pearl jewelry is worn, the better. Thanks to the natural oils secreted by the skin, the luster and robustness of the material are preserved, which consequently expands its lifespan.
» DO clean it when necessary.
It is good and recommended to clean the jewelry once in a while, especially after being frequently used for a longer period of time. The easiest and safest way to remove the dust and dirt is by using a damp microfiber cloth that has been previously soaked in warm, soapy water. In case the grime is too dense, use a soft toothbrush and brush carefully until it is completely removed.
Mother of Pearl Bracelet
» DON’T expose it to harsh chemicals.
The biggest enemy of mother of pearl jewelry are harsh chemicals, such as home cleaning products, perfumes and certain types of makeup. Even the acidity of natural lemon juice is harmful for mother of pearl’s strength and shimmer. Other alkaline and acidic substances, like baking soda, alcohol and vinegar are also a big no-no for this type of jewelry.
» Store it mindfully.
When mother of pearl jewelry is not used, it should be stored in a separate jewelry box to prevent it from getting scratched or chipped by other metals and gemstones. Another DIY option is to store it in a soft bag made of silk or cotton. Humid environments, such as the bathroom or a room with a portable humidifier, are highly recommended for keeping mother of pearl jewelry. Otherwise, it will dry out and lose its natural allure.
Photo credit: Pinterest