What Is the Difference Between Pearl and Mother of Pearl?

Jewelry enthusiasts have been continuously using terms like pearls and mother of pearl. We also hear pearls and mother of pearl being used in jewelry, watches and crockery. As a buyer, we could be confused between the two. We might wonder; if these are the same or inherently different elements.

Get more information, regarding this, here. As we all know, pearls are made in fresh or sea water. They develop in oysters, as a result of a defense mechanism to an “irritant”, which have entered the oyster shell and “irritate” the oyster. The irritant could be a grain of sand or a parasite or an attack from outside.

In response to the invasion, the organism deposits layers of calcium carbonate, which is in the form of mineral aragonite? On the outermost layer, aragonite and calcite with concholin, forms nacre. Nacre is the mother of pearl. This nacre also coats inner shell layer of molluscs and oysters.

The secretion of calcium carbonate in done in layers until the irritant is completely sealed off. The initial set of cells that starts secreting the calcium carbonate, is the pearl sac. With consecutive layers, secretion of argonite takes place, which is brown in colour. This graduates to the outermost zone of nacre. Nacre is yellowish to whitish in colour.

This nacre also coats the inside of the shell and these pieces of nacre are used in decorating watches, tiles or inlaid-pendants. Here, it is called mother of pearl. The lustre of a pearl is attributed to nacre, which forms the outermost layer.

Nacre or mother of pearl is highly iridescent. It is a strong and resilient material. It can be processed using colourful dyes and made decorative. Biblically, this is used in altar pieces and mosaic tiles. Black and white nacre has a significant position in architecture.

Pearls and mother of pearl are gaining popularity with men-folk. Mother of pearl adorns their watches, cufflinks and buttons. Also, cufflink boxes are in-laid with this. Nature has given us a wide variety of choice with pearls to suit our different moods and style.