This natural shimmering substance first captured civilization’s eye over 5000 years ago in the Mesopotamian Basin. Everyone has seen mother- of- pearl used as inlays to decorate furniture, tiles and other objects, or used in whole pieces as buttons and in jewelry. It never seems to go out of style. The most sought after mother- of- pearl comes from the abalone shell. It is prized for its iridescence.
You might also know that mother- of -pearl pellets are used as the “seed” around which modern cultured pearls are grown. Did you know, however, that through the years this beautiful natural material has also been assigned certain metaphysical powers such as protection of its owner? Did you know that the Chinese have been using it for centuries in medicines? And in the past decade, scientists have tried to duplicate its molecular structure to make super strong and durable ceramic tiles for industrial and commercial applications. There are also ongoing biomedical studies being undertaken to determine if mother- of- pearl can be used as a catalyst for human bone regeneration.
So just what exactly is mother- of- pearl? Mother- of- pearl, also called nacre (from the Arab word for shell, “naqqarah ” ) is a hard, iridescent coating found on the inside of certain mollusks. It is mainly comprised of calcium carbonate, a formation containing millions of stacked aragonite crystal platelets held together by a substance called conchiolin.
Here are some additional uses for mother- of- pearl that may surprise you:
Beauty Treatments: Mother -of-pearl is used as an ingredient in soap, face creams, and powders. These specialized cosmetics list it as an agent that helps treat scars, provides dermabrasion, exfoiliation, and cell renewal and rejuvenation.
Metaphysical Properties: Certain groups believe mother- of- pearl attracts money, makes one more intuitive, imaginative and increases psychic abilities. It is also believed it provides protection, especially for children, and cleanses ones surroundings.
Folklore/Home Remedies: The Chinese and Native Americans have long believed in the healing properties of mother- of- pearl. Specifically, it has been said to cure high blood pressure, and stop heart palpitations and dizziness. It has also been used to help heal wounds and improve vision.
So, the next time you put on your lovely mother- of- pearl pin or pendant, or polish your antique desk with mother- of- pearl inlay, remember all the other uses for this remarkable natural material.
1. “Mother of Pearl | Mollusk Shell Structure,” Pearl-Guide.com.
2. “Metaphysical and healing properties of crystals, gems and stones – M,” crystalsandjewelry.com/metaphysicalproperties_m.html.
3. “Mother of Pearl – Opal of the Sea,” ezinearticles.com/?Mother-of-Pearl—Opal-of-the-Sea&id=928151.
4. “Mother of Pearl Jewelry,” clunygreyjewelry.com/mother-of-pearl-jewelry.html.
5. “Mother of Pearl Secret Revealed,” physorg.com/news147014618.html.
6. “Mother-of-pearl From Shells Could Inspire Regeneration of Human Bones,” sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090212112741.htm.