Pearls and Mother of Pearl: What's the Difference?

mother of pearl ring open ring

mother of pearl open ring

Pearls and mother of pearl are both created by mollusks, but they are not the same thing. Here's what you need to know about the differences between these two beautiful substances.


Pearls are formed when an irritant, such as a piece of sand or a small organism, enters the shell of a mollusk. The mollusk responds to this irritant by secreting a substance called nacre, which coats the irritant and eventually forms a pearl. Pearls come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, and are highly prized for their beauty and rarity.

Mother of Pearl

Mother of pearl, also known as nacre, is the iridescent substance that lines the inner shell of certain mollusks, such as oysters and abalone. It is not a gemstone, but is often used in jewelry-making and decorative objects due to its beautiful appearance. Mother of pearl comes in a range of colors, from white to pink to black, and is often used as an alternative to pearls in jewelry.

Daisy Mother Of Pearl Flower Stud Earrings

Daisy Mother Of Pearl Flower Stud Earrings

Differences Between Pearls and Mother of Pearl

The main difference between pearls and mother of pearl is that pearls are formed from an irritant inside the mollusk, while mother of pearl is the lining of the shell itself. Pearls are also much rarer and more valuable than mother of pearl, due to the fact that they are created by chance rather than being a natural part of the mollusk's shell.

Another difference between these two substances is their appearance. Pearls are often round and smooth, with a glossy surface that reflects light in a unique way. Mother of pearl, on the other hand, has a more iridescent and lustrous surface, with a range of colors and patterns that vary depending on the type of mollusk it comes from.

Uses of Pearls and Mother of Pearl

Pearls and mother of pearl are both highly valued for their beauty and rarity, and are used in a variety of ways. Pearls are often used in jewelry-making, as well as in decorative objects such as vases and sculptures. Mother of pearl is also used in jewelry-making, as well as in furniture inlays, musical instruments, and other decorative objects.

mother of pearl necklace


In conclusion, pearls and mother of pearl are both beautiful substances that are created by mollusks. While they share some similarities, such as their iridescent appearance, they are fundamentally different in terms of how they are formed and their rarity. Whether you prefer the timeless elegance of pearls or the iridescent beauty of mother of pearl, both of these substances are sure to add a touch of luxury to any piece of jewelry or decorative object.

About Pearls, People Also Ask: