What is Mother of Pearl?

Mother of Pearl is the iridescent inner shell layer of certain mollusks.


Mother of Pearl, often known as nacre, is a material that holds a special allure in the world of interior design for its naturally occurring iridescent qualities. This beautiful substance is produced by mollusks as a protective inner shell layer and has been admired by human societies for millennia, both for its beauty and strength.

In interior design, Mother of Pearl is utilized in a variety of ways, ranging from decorative accents in furniture and accessories to being the main component in wall coverings, mosaic tiles, and inlays. Due to its reflective properties, it has the capability to add depth, elegance, and a touch of opulence to any space. The unique iridescence can range in color from white and cream to black, blue, green, and pink, depending on the type of mollusk and its environment.

Despite its delicate appearance, Mother of Pearl is surprisingly durable; it's resistant to heat and the elements, making it a versatile choice for numerous applications. However, it does require careful handling and maintenance to retain its lustrous beauty over time.


Mother of Pearl is frequently used in luxury bathroom designs as wall treatments and finishes, incorporated into high-end furniture pieces as decorative objects, and selected for floor coverings and rugs to create a distinctive, elegant look. It's also popular in kitchen and bath settings, where it's employed in backsplashes and accent pieces.


  • Is Mother of Pearl sustainable?

    Yes, Mother of Pearl can be considered a sustainable material as it is a natural byproduct of the mollusk industry. Its sourcing, however, needs to be done responsibly to ensure environmental and ecological considerations are maintained.

  • Can Mother of Pearl be used in outdoor settings?

    While Mother of Pearl is resistant to the elements, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and harsh weather conditions can deteriorate its appearance. It’s best used in covered or indoor environments.

  • How is Mother of Pearl maintained?

    To maintain its lustrous sheen, Mother of Pearl should be cleaned with a soft, damp cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools which can scratch its surface.

Practical Application

For an impactful application of Mother of Pearl in your space, consider using it as an accent in areas that receive natural light. The natural iridescence of Mother of Pearl will interact beautifully with light to create dynamic reflections and add visual interest. Additionally, when planning to include Mother of Pearl in your design, pair it with materials that complement its natural beauty, such as wood, metal, or stone, to create a harmonious and luxurious aesthetic.