Mother of pearl is a nacre cut from the shell of the pinctada maxima pearl oyster—like all pearls, pinctada maxima pearls are formed when an irritant becomes trapped in a mollusk. The mollusk secretes a fluid, called nacre, which coats the irritant layer upon layer until a pearl is formed. Before the use of plastics one, of the main uses for mother of pearl was buttons: nowadays, this iridescent nacre is beloved for its use in fine jewelry in a variety of shades from inky silver to translucent white.
MOHs Hardness: 3.5
Origins: Australia south sea
Care: Keep mother of pearl jewelry away from chemicals: contact with cosmetics, oils, acids, etc., can discolor or ruin the texture of pearls. Avoid cleaning your scrimshaw- this can ruin the ink. If absolutely necessary, use a cool, damp cloth- but avoid the ink as much as possible.