Mother of Pearl Meaning
Unlike gemstones which are formed in crystalline structures within ores and other mineralized rock and soil compounds, Mother of Pearl is a unique precious substance that has been popular in jewelry for centuries.
It’s even different than pearls, because of how and where it forms. Pearls are created when certain oysters coat an irritant like a grain of sand or coral in layer after layer of nacre.
Mother of Pearl, however, is actually the iridescent interior lining of a mollusk shell - which may include oysters, but also freshwater mussels, abalone, and other shelled creatures.
The root substance is still nacre, but instead of layering on in a spherical shape, the little water-creature layers the nacre on the inside surface of its shell.
As the layers are applied to the shell, different color variations take place depending on things like the composition of the surrounding waters, the type of mollusk, water temperatures, and even the animals’ diets.
Once harvested, however, these shimmering variations on tone deliver an elegant luster that lends itself well to many applications - but most especially jewelry.
Mother of Pearl Gemstone Throughout History
Ages ago, Mother of Pearl benefits were more important than how beautiful it is.
In ancient Egypt, Mother of Pearl spiritual properties were thought to include healing emotional trauma and protecting people from the bad thoughts or bad wishes of others.
As such, Egyptian tombs often featured Mother of Pearl adornments to protect the departed loved one in the afterlife. In Renaissance times, it was believed that Mother of Pearl healing properties could both cure someone from poisoning as well as detect poison in a glass or food.
This led to the rise of Mother of Pearl spoons and goblets - even though the myth didn’t hold true that the substance would change color in the presence of poison.
However, the belief that Mother of Pearl healing properties could purify things did remain in some ways.
By the Victorian era, Mother of Pearl was thought to calm nerves and help the wearer discern their true or “pure” feelings.
This was reinforced by Mother of Pearl color meaning, which also leaned strongly towards purity and truth.
From the 1800s through the late 1930s, white Mother of Pearl symbolized a chaste love - one not driven by wild desire, but rather authentic emotional commitment.
Considering the times, it quickly made Mother of Pearl rings, earrings, brooches, and other baubles fitting and appropriate gifts between courting couples.
Interestingly enough, it was because of this Mother of Pearl color meaning that modern-era society started to see more women giving gifts of jewelry to men, as it was a more accepted way of showing interest or affections, without calling a lady’s character into question.
It was also the answer to “Why Wear Mother of Pearl jewelry” for many throughout the age - it was a way of showing they were loved, or even betrothed, almost as a status symbol as well as a polite way of discouraging unwelcome suitors.
Today, of course, Mother of Pearl meanings have largely reverted back to the simple appreciation of its elegant natural beauty and shimmering allure.
Because it is easily carved into nearly any shape, intricate Mother of Pearl earrings and buttons are special, unique pieces.
Likewise, Mother of Pearl rings have a classic unisex appeal that looks equally elegant as a men’s pinky ring or a ladies’ cocktail ring. A mother of pearl ring is the perfect accessory to any outfit.
This flexibility in design and style, coupled with the iridescent color profile which coordinates with any color palette makes Mother of Pearl jewelry a lovely gift for nearly any person and any occasion.
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