Mother of pearl

Pearls and glamour go hand in hand. There’s nothing like a pearl necklace or bracelet to make you feel instantly put-together. Most of us are familiar with classic pearls, but what about mother of pearl? This natural material comes with a mysterious iridescent colour, bringing a luminous touch to your jewellery. Our guide shares all you need to know about mother of pearl jewellery. Learn how it’s made, how to care for it and the jewellery styles available at Pandora.

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What is mother of pearl?

Mother of pearl (also known as nacre) is the pearly inner layer found within certain types of mollusc shells. Consisting mainly of calcium carbonate, it’s created by the mollusc to protect itself from parasites.

How is mother of pearl made?

Pandora’s mother of pearl is created when skilled farmers insert an irritant into the shell of a mollusc. The mollusc will then start to create layer upon layer of mother of pearl to protect itself. During this process, a pearl is also created. Because the nacre essentially “gives birth” to the pearl, it was poetically named “mother of pearl”.

After the mother of pearl is cut from the shell, it's sometimes bleached to produce a uniform shade of white or dyed a range of attractive colours. It’s also lightly polished to accentuate the pearlescent effect.

Mother of pearl is often cut into fancy shapes for use in jewellery designs. The shaping can either be done by hand or using modern laser-cutting technology (CNC).

Pandora also uses bioresin man-made mother of pearl, a modern lab-created material which captures the same pearly lustre as its natural counterpart. Bioresin man-made mother of pearl consists of bio-based carbon with green ingredients, such as vegetable oils, fats and sugarcane and cornstarch waste products.


How durable is mother of pearl?

Mother of pearl has a hardness level of 3.5-4.0 on the Mohs scale. With a fair toughness rating, it's reasonably durable. But we still need to take care of our mother of pearl jewellery, as it’s susceptible to attack by acids and damage from ultrasonic cleaning. It’s also sensitive to solvents.

What gives mother of pearl its colour?

Natural mother of pearl has a platelet structure which reflects light waves and produces its famous iridescent sheen. Mother of pearl can be virtually any colour, often light in tone with a pearly lustre.

Pandora mother of pearl jewellery

Wear enchanting iridescent colours every day with our mother of pearl jewellery, created using natural or bioresin man-made mother of pearl. Crafted with care, these statement pieces dress up even the most casual looks.

Looking for the perfect gift for your Gemini or Cancer friends? This material makes the ideal June birth month jewellery gift.

Mother of pearl charms

Are you a self-confessed charm collector? Add to your treasure trove with the natural beauty of a mother of pearl charm.

How to wear mother of pearl jewellery

Whether you’re a minimalist or love the lavish side of life, we’ve got you covered with our styling tips:

Go classic

If you want to make your mother of pearl jewellery shine, take a simple approach by wearing just one pearly piece, then complete your look with other dainty jewellery.

Modern maximalism

Want to harness the power of mother of pearl to make a style statement? We suggest stacking multiple mother of pearl pieces for a showstopping combination.

How to clean and care for mother of pearl jewellery

The best way to keep your mother of pearl jewellery looking shiny and new is by taking good care of it. We recommend these steps:

Tip 1

Avoid placing on rough surfaces, which can cause scratching or chipping

Tip 2

Store your jewellery separately in a protective box or pouch

Tip 3

Direct sunlight and drier climates may dry out mother of pearl and create cracks

Tip 4

Wearing mother of pearl is one of the best ways of caring for it, as contact with skin oils helps maintain its lustre

Tip 5

Clean your jewellery using a soft cloth dampened in lukewarm water, and wipe the surface gently

Read our jewellery cleaning guides for more expert care advice.
Ready to infuse your everyday jewellery wardrobe with the beauty of pearls? Explore the latest Pandora pieces on our New In page.