The Difference Between Pearl and Mother of Pearl

By | February 17, 2017

Pearl, just like diamonds, has been a symbol of elegance for women. Mother of pearl, on the other hand, has also brought class and style in different jewelry, art crafts and architectural pieces.

We have been seeing pearls and mother of pearl everywhere – from ladies’ earrings, to necklaces, to watches, to dinnerware, to furniture – but what really is the difference of the two? They may have come from the same organic, living source, but how do we differentiate one from the other?

Pearls are formed in oysters through the accumulation of substance called nacre, which is, in fact, the mother of pearl, and is the material lining the oyster shell. Pearls are formed around a solid piece of foreign object that has become lodged inside the oyster shell.

A pearl is made of layers of crystalline forms of calcium carbonate held together by an organic substance known as conchiolin. Its composition is identical to that of the nacre, which forms the interior layer of the mollusk or oyster shell.

As mentioned, mother of pearl (or nacre), is a material that forms the shell lining of most mollusks. Some sources of mother of pearl which are used as an inlay in jewelry and furniture are abalone and oysters. MOP comes in different natural colors and is processed (dyed) for decorative purposes.

Today, we see pearl and mother of pearl not only in women’s jewelry but also in men’s jewelry. There are men’s watches which are actually made of mother of pearl. Moreover, there are also pearl cufflinks and mother of pearl cufflinks, which give the same kind of elegance as other kinds of cufflinks which are made in silver and gold.

Each pair of pear or mother of pearl cufflinks has its own reflective properties, making each cufflink a unique work of art. For one, they are not like other substances like silver or gold which can have the same properties when manufactured in volume. It is for this reason that every pair of pearl and mother of pearl cufflinks have its own stories to tell. Just like other naturally occurring substances, mother of pearl develops irregularities as it forms. Thus, every piece of mother of pearl jewelry – be it earrings or cufflinks – is slightly different. Such irregularities may also appear in cheaper jewelry which is not as carefully crafted.

Whether a man prefers the rounded pearl cufflinks or cufflinks with an inlay of mother of pearl, what is important is that because nature has a great way of making each natural substance unique, it makes it more possible to cater to every man’s unique personality. Consider it as nature’s way of meeting the demands of the pearl fashion market.