Mother of pearl, also known as nacre, is a beautiful organic material formed within the shells of certain molluscs, particularly oysters and abalone. It is highly regarded for its iridescent and shimmering appearance, showcasing a mesmerizing play of colours that range from soft pastels to vibrant hues. The name “mother of pearl” derives from the fact that it serves as the inner lining of the shell, providing protection and strength.
Mother of pearl is composed of layers of aragonite crystals, which are intertwined with organic substances like proteins and polysaccharides. These layers reflect and refract light, giving rise to its characteristic lustrous and iridescent effect. The colours displayed by mother of pearl are not due to pigments but are a result of light interference and scattering.