A Guide to Mother of Pearl Jewellery

Have you seen our range of Mother of Pearl jewellery?

In this age of fast fashion, it is important to research companies before buying Mother of Pearl products as there are some companies who support unsustainable and unethical ways of farming it.

As you know, at Treasures of Brazil our mission is to bring these Brazilian handcrafted, sustainable & eco-friendly products to the UK market, whilst supporting local, small communities in Brazil using sustainable materials sourced in the local area.

In this blog post, I’ll explore what Mother of Pearl is, how to wear it and where to find it…


What is Mother of Pearl?

Mother of Pearl, not to be confused with pearls (more on that later) is an organic gem which comes from an iridescent material composed of calcium carbonate, known as nacre, and is most commonly found in pearl oysters, freshwater mussels, and abalone.

Nacre is created by molluscs to protect their soft interior tissue from pollutants and parasites which may enter the shell. The nacre ultimately takes the shape of the inside of the shell, which we know as Mother of Pearl.

Mother of Pearl has been used as far back as the Ancient Egyptians, who used it to embellish silver and to honour royalty and high-class citizens. It was also very popular in China during the Shang and Ming Dynasties, used to create furniture, jewellery and clothing for the rich.


What does Mother of Pearl look like?

Mother of Pearl has a shimmering beauty, caused by the way light bounces off the layers of calcium carbonate secreted by molluscs to protect the inside of their shells. 

Because Mother of Pearl is an organic material, it comes in many variations of colours, from white to silver, blue-green, bronze and even black!

It is this unique iridescent appearance which makes Mother of Pearl so popular in jewellery, cufflinks, watches, home decor and even on musical instruments like guitars.


What Is The Difference Between Pearl And Mother Of Pearl?

There is often confusion about pearl jewellery versus Mother of Pearl jewellery and, although they have some similarities, there is one fundamental difference between the two - the way they are formed.

As mentioned earlier in this blog post, Mother of Pearl is the nacre-coated protective layer lining the inside of a mollusc shell.

Pearls, on the other hand, are formed when a foreign object, like a parasite or a grain of sand, enters the shell. As a defence mechanism, the mollusc coats the invading object in nacre over and over again often for up to 5 years. This coated invader is what forms the pearl.

Mother of Pearl is much less rare as only a very small proportion of molluscs produce pearls, but many produce Mother of Pearl.



How to wear Mother of Pearl jewellery

Mother of Pearl is so versatile and with its colourful hues is the perfect partner to any outfit.

Much of our Mother of Pearl jewellery is paired with gold plated buriti tree leaves, or golden grass. 

Mother of Pearl jewellery should be worn often, in fact the more it is worn, the better! This is because the lustre is preserved by the oils our skin secrets which ultimately makes your Mother of Pearl jewellery live longer.


Caring for your Mother of Pearl jewellery

Understanding how to care for and protect your treasured jewellery can make a world of difference in maintaining its beauty. Mother of Pearl can be easily scratched if not looked after with care. Here are our top tips for caring for your Mother of Pearl jewellery:

  • To clean, wipe with a soft cloth or microfibre jewellery cleaning cloth which is slightly damp or dry
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals, soap or water to clean your Mother of Pearl, as it is best to not get it too wet. 
  • Keep it away from direct sunlight and heat.
  • Keep your Mother of Pearl jewellery wrapped in a soft cloth, placed in a silk or soft cotton bag when you’re not wearing it to keep it safe.

Shop our Mother of Pearl jewellery range

Check out our range of stunning Mother of Pearl jewellery here.


Until next time,


Daiane x