MOP Techniques

MOP Techniques

MOP making differs in techniques between Syria and Palestine.

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Mother-of-pearl is the designation commonly given to the pearly inner layer of some molluscs.  This layer, typically relatively thin, occurs in the shells of some, not all, animals of three classes of molluscs -- Gastropoda,  Bivalvia (=Pelecypoda) and Cephalopoda.   It consists primarily of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), typically aragonite (+ minor calcite), and an organic matrix plus or minus up to two per cent water.  Special attention is directed to the fine electron micrographs of the structure of molluscan nacre.

Compiled by Bathurst (1971) and by Carter (1980a).

Several colors that frequently exhibit a rainbow-like iridescence ("play of colors") -- i.e., much of it exhibits an attractive apparently moving multicolored appearance when surfaces are viewed as the angle of incident light is varied.  This is the characteristic responsible for mother-of-pearl's wide utilization in jewelry and decorative pieces.
OTHER NAMES:  Mother-of-pearl is frequently referred to by the name of the mollusc shell from which it is derived.  A few of those names along with a few other designations follow:
• abalone - This designation -- the name of the gastropod from which a large percentage of mother-of-pearl is recovered --is used rather frequently as a noun in lieu of mother-of-pearl.
• awabi - This Japanese term for abalone is applied rather widely both to mother-of-pearl and the meat from these gastropods.
• Burmese shell - name given to a mother-of-pearl shell (otherwise not identified) from the sea around the Mergui archipelago (Webster, 1975, p. 505)
• Manila shell - name given to a mother-of-pearl shell (otherwise not identified) from the Philippines (Webster, 1975, p. 505)
• nacre - a frequently used synonym for mother-of-pearl.
• Normans (or Norman shell) - name once applied to abalone and other mother-of-pearl (O.E.D.).
• osmena pearl  -  term applied to  the nacreous layer of chambered nautilus shells (e.g., that used as veneer on boxes) and, unfortunately sometimes marketed as blister pearls from the nautilus.
• paua -  designation widely applied to an abalone (Haliotis iris) that occurs sporadically in the ocean around New Zealand (and the Phillippines?). 
• rainbow abalone - name sometimes applied to paua shells and the nacre derived from them.
• sea ear (or ear shell) - name sometimes applied to abalone shells and the nacre derived from them.
• sea opal - name sometimes applied to abalone because the iridescence of its mother-of-pearl resembles opalescence.
• sedef - name given mother-of-pearl in Anatolia (Asia Minor).

1. Soak your shells in equal parts of bleach and water or vinegar and water to remove the scent of the sea.
2. Remove the mother-of-pearl, also known as nacre, from the inner surface of the shell by scooping it out with a fine knife.

  • Mother of Pearl Video      = Making of Mother of pearl unique items is hard work but gives marvelous results

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