Gifts From the Sea


Using items formed by nature in one's decorating brings a sense of connectedness with the natural world around us. Seashells are some of my favorites to use, but I am especially fond of Mother of Pearl. Its glowing translucent quality has captured my heart.

The history of Mother of Pearl is quite interesting. Before people understood the value of a pearl, pearl producing clams were harvested not for their pearls, but for the luminescent Mother of Pearl layer inside the shell. Harvesters would actually throw away the pearls and children were known to use them as marbles! (For information source click here)

The Victorians prized seashells. They created all sorts of things from them, from calling card plates to intricate salt cellars.


This Victorian calling card plate is carved from a single large pearl producing clam.








Mother of pearl is also referred to as Nacre. Nacre is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some mollusks as an inner shell layer. It is strong, resilient, and iridescent.

Nacre is secreted by the mantle tissue of some mollusks. The nacre is continuously deposited onto the inner surface of the shell, the iridescent nacreous layer. The layers of nacre smooth the shell surface and help defend the soft tissues against parasites and damaging foreign particles by entombing them in successive layers of nacre, forming either a blister pearl attached to the interior of the shell, or a free pearl within the mantle tissues. The process is called encystation and it continues as long as the mollusk lives.

Now you know how pearls are formed! This information is cited from Wikipedia.

These salt cellars are polished to reveal their mother of pearl







Sweet Little French MOP Knives ☺ I'm not sure what their purpose is. Some have said they are letter openers, other have said they are for serving caviar. Whatever their purpose, they are wonderful.

I wanted to thank all of you who have left comments on my last several posts. My days have been super busy and it has been difficult to get back to all of you. I'll hopefully be posting soon on what I've been up to.

Hope you enjoyed the post!

30 comments:

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Bonjour ma chere! Beautiful photos. You have the touch. I am super busy now with school, but hope to get back to taking better photos. Bonne journee! Anita

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Wow! I learned so much--and the photos are just incredible.
Awesome post!

KarenHarveyCox said...

Oh Nancy,
Another lovely post filled with eye candy. I had a friend in Hong Kong who had a dining room table with mother of pearl dancing all around the apron of the table. Those knives are beautiful. Happy Tuesday.
Karen

shiborigirl said...

Love that snail-shaped salt cellar! My grandmother gave me a number of family pieces for my "hope chest" when I was a small girl. They have MOP handles and the most obscure uses: pickle forks, olive forks, etc.

I think you are right about the knives being for serving caviar - I've heard that it can discolor some metals, so it makes sense that the Victorians would figure out to use MOP.

Remember to come up for some air!

Hugs,

Kate

The Rose Room said...

Exquisite and educational! Rachaelxo

Lori said...

Nancy, what a beautiful post!!! thanks for the lesson too...i love posts that are informative as well as lovely!!! i really love those plates, they look so delicate and the detail is just wonderful...

Rosemary said...

Wow,
Lots of great information. Very interesting post, as well as pretty.
Chat soon,
Rosemary

LiLi M. said...

I love this post Nancy. As said before; we all love to be educated while we are feasting our eyes! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos as well as the knowlegde.

NeereAnDear said...

Stunning!! The photos... the objects .... the post...

I adore mother of pearl ... intrigued by its seemingly never ending layers and its soft shiny surface...

Your pieces are beautiful.. to look at ....and ....I imagine to touch..

Really like the information on the natural process and formation of the pearl itself...

Anxiously waiting to hear what you are up to

LOTS OF HUGS

JO

Kay said...

Your pieces are exquisite! The ornate silver handles, of the knives, compliment the sleek curved MOP blades beautifully. Lucky you!
Kay

Lorrie said...

I love mother-of-pearl. Those knives are precious!

Lorrie

Chatelaine said...

Thanks, I didn't know that much about mother of pearl other than I love it! I have some mother of pearl jewelry that I treasure. Your items are beautiful. I especially love the knives.

Efrat said...

I can say today that I learned something new. Thanks for the information on mother of pearl. Your photos are beautiful as always.
Efrat

bluemuf said...

Nancy, your posting was so interesting and I learned so much. Love the pieces you showed.

Hugs karen

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Hi, This was very interesting.Love the plate and knives.Gorgeous.

lorhen82 said...

This was really interesting! The plate is so pretty, and those knives...wow! ~Lori

Mildred said...

So very interesting and what beautiful photos. Have a good day and can't wait to hear what you've been up to!

Barb said...

Good morning.
Thank you for ocming to visit mmy blog.
I found your info. on pearls very interesting. And they are so bearutiful.
Busy getting the store ready of reopen, but will be ack for a visit soon.

Barbara Jean
Treasures from the Heart

Barb said...

Nancy,
Forgot to say, those little carved shells are so beutiful, and, love your paper shoes. What a wonderful creative idea!
Have a wonderful day.

Blessings,
Barbara Jean

Betzie said...

Beautiful post Nancy...interesting too.
I love mother of pearl buttons...my grandmom had a lot of them...tiny ones too.
Your pics are always so so charming.
Blessings...
Betzie

karlascottage.typepad.com said...

Oh my! I just passed up a salt cellar like that last weekend at an antique store, not knowing what it was! I feel like hopping in the car and running right back up there.

Thanks for the lovely lesson.

Michelle said...

How exquisite. I absolutely love the letter openers!

robin dudley-howes said...

These are exquisite!
Robin

Gabriela said...

Hello Nancy,

These are beautiful!


~ Gabriela ~

rochambeau said...

Thank you for this post Nancy!!
From your sister in MOP love!!
xox
Constance

Maija said...

Not 100% sure, but mother of pearl is typically used to serve caviar!

Arlene said...

Mother of pearl is one of my favorite embellishments for jewelry, it has so many colors within each piece. Enjoy your blog.

Miss Sandy said...

I have a passion for mother of pearl anything! My high school ring has a mother of pearl setting in it, my birthstone. I love pearl jewelry too! The salt cellers are wonderful!

The Victorian Parlor said...

Beautiful treasures! Thanks for sharing and for the information!

TattingChic said...

Your MOP collection is beautiful! That plate is just beautiful. The knives are lovely and the salt cellars are charming!