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Mother of Pearl

What is Mother of Pearl?


Pearl oyster shell with love hearts
Andrew Watson/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Mother of pearl is the common name for iridescent nacre, a blend of minerals that are secreted by oysters and other mollusks and deposited inside their shells, coating and protecting them from parasites and foreign objects.

Nacre is the same substance that is deposited around an object that becomes lodged in the mollusk--either naturally or inserted by humans--to become a pearl.

Although pearls are popular today, some past cultures regarded colorful mother of pearl as a more desirable component for jewelry and other objects.

Jewelry made from mother of pearl falls in the group referred to as organic jewelry -- jewelry that originates from a living creature, plant or organism.

Shop for mother of pearl necklaces and bracelets.

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