Mother of Pearl: History and Uses

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May 18, 2014 by epochbeadsuk

mother-of-pearl_shutterstock_105186932_300Famed for its shimmering beauty the world over, iridescent shell known as Mother of Pearl is the organic/inorganic material lining the inside of a mollusc’s shell. The play of colour that floats over the surface of the interior lining- also known as lustre- is an optical phenomenon wherein wavelengths of light are scattered and refracted back toward the viewer in a dazzling display. Mother of Pearl has both traditional and New Age metaphysical and healing lore.Mother_of_Pearl

History

As one of the most readily available and easily accessible resources available to early man, Mother of Pearl was among the first materials used by ancient craftsmen for decorative and ritual purposes. From the Minoan Little Palace at Knossos to North American burial mounds, ancient Mother of Pearl jewellery, tools and ceremonial items have been found.MP103

Mother of Pearl artefacts found in Turkey date to the early Bronze Age, from about 6,000 – 3,000 BC, however, the decorative use of mother-of-pearl in Egypt goes at least as far back as 4,200 BC with Mother of Pearl ornaments being found in the Egyptian pyramids (built roughly 4500 years BC).

Buttons

mother-buttonsDuring the 17th century, buttons made from mother-of-pearl, from both snail shells and seashells, became quite fashionable, leading to a European-wide increase in the button industry. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, demand for buttons was so great that the button-making industry was using nearly 300,000 pounds of oyster shell annually.  In London the tradition of Pearly Kings and Queens began in 1875.  To learn more about the traditions of Pearly Kings and Queens please visit The London Pearly Kings & Queens Society http://www.pearlysociety.co.uk/.  A great website with some wonderful photographs.

Turkish MOP Inlay Screen

Turkish MOP Inlay Screen

Inlay

In more recent times, among the most prolific users of Mother of Pearl were the Ottoman Turks, masters in the art of Mother of- Pearl inlay — as evidenced by the plethora of Koran cases, writing desks, chests, window and door shutters as well as pulpits, lecterns and various architectural pieces.

Metaphysical

Mother of Pearl is said to attract prosperity. It is used in mystical work and lore to heighten intuition, psychic sensitivity, and imagination. It is purported to protect from negative influence, and transmute negative energy. It is said to be highly protective and a particularly potent stone of protection for children. A traditional lore use of Mother of Pearl is to purify environments. Mother of Pearl is also used in metaphysics to access primordial and racial memories.

MOP Caviar Spoons

MOP Caviar Spoons

It signifies faith, charity, and innocence, enhances personal integrity, and helps to provide focus to one’s attention. The pearl has been known as a “stone of sincerity”, bring truth to situations and loyalty to a “cause”. It has been used to inhibit boisterous behaviour,

Crystal healing and folklore say that Mother of Pearl is helpful for high blood pressure, dizziness, improving vision, cataracts, and wound healing.

4125278_a-Sterling-Silver-Mother-of-Pearl-Two-Flower-Crystal-Long-Five-Strand-Necklace-02Zodiac: Cancer

Birthstone: July

Chakra: Sacral

Sources: Common

Empowerment: I accept my need for nurturing

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