Mother of pearl
Although not many know this, mother of pearl can be virtually any colour, often light in tone, with pearly lustre and often an iridescent effect.
After the mother of pearl is cut from the shell of the oyster, it's sometimes bleached to produce a uniform white colour or dyed a range of attractive colours. A light polishing is applied to accentuate the pearlescent effect. Mother of pearl is often cut into fancy shapes for jewellery use. The shaping can either be done by hand in traditional manner or achieved using modern laser cutting technology (CNC). In ancient times, mother of pearl was also used for mosaics, created with tiny pieces of the luminous gem.
Mother of pearl has a hardness of 3.5-4.0 on the Mohs scale. With fair toughness, it's reasonably durable, but it's particularly susceptible to attack by acids and damage from ultrasonic cleaning and is sensitive to solvents.
How to care for it?
Rough surfaces may cause scratching or chipping. Jewellery should be stored separately in a protective box or pouch. Direct sunlight and drier climates may dry out mother of pearl and create cracks. Wearing mother of pearl is one of the best ways of caring for it, as contact with natural skin oils help maintain the lustre of the gem. Clean using a soft cloth dampened in lukewarm, soapy water and wipe the surface gently.
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Keep your Pandora collection as sparkly as you are! Discover how to clean your jewellery and give it the care it deserves.
Discover our other materials
Freshwater cultured pearls
Freshwater cultured pearls form when a pearl farmer gives nature a helping hand and inserts the irritant into the shell that will eventually form a pearl in the same way it would naturally.
Lacquered artificial pearl
Made to resemble the naturally-occurring beauty of the natural pearl, a lacquered artificial pearl is a laboratory-made glass-ceramic with an innovative pearl-like coating.
Understand the difference between synthetic, man-made and natural stones, their unique properties and how we use them in our hand-finished Pandora Jewellery.