Differences Between Abalone And Mother Of Pearl (Nacre)

Differences Between Abalone And Mother Of Pearl (Nacre)

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When people look at Abalone and Mother of Pearl, they may see that they look different but do not understand how different they are.

Abalone is a gastropod mollusk or a kind of marine snail. The mother of pearl is also considered a mollusk but a different kind of organism. They both look very different in that Abalone will have a very iridescent look, and the mother of pearl can come in various colors. Abalone is found in the ocean, whereas the mother of pearl is found in marine and freshwater.

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Unveiling the Distinct Characteristics of Abalone and Mother of Pearl

At first glance, Abalone and Mother of Pearl may appear similar, yet a closer examination reveals significant differences. Abalone, a type of gastropod mollusk or marine snail, is renowned for its striking iridescence. In contrast, Mother of Pearl, though also a mollusk, is an entirely different organism and exhibits diverse colors.

While Abalone is exclusively oceanic, Mother of Pearl is found in marine and freshwater environments. This section thoroughly explores these differences, enhancing understanding and appreciation of these two unique natural wonders.

In the Oxford dictionary, the term mother of pearl is defined as:

“a smooth shining iridescent substance forming the inner layer of the shell of some mollusks, especially oysters and abalones, used in ornamentation.”

Oxford Dictionary

At Mondoro, we consider Abalone to be a mother-of-pearl technique. But even if Abalone is usually categorized as a mother of pearl, they are not the same and have some differences.

What Is Abalone?


Abalone is a large marine gastropod mollusk or marine organism; essentially, they are considered a marine snail. The abalone meat can be eaten.

The abalone marine life is usually found in the cold waters of New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and the west coast of North America. Abalone can vary from 20 mm (0.8 inches) to 30 cm (12 inches), depending on the species and marine life.

Abalone Candle Holder By Mondoro Company Limited

It is the shell of the Abalone that is used for home decor or home furniture decoration. The shell of the Abalone is usually a convex shell that is rounded to oval in shape and can be arched or flattened areas.

The shells have a lovely iridescent color that can change according to the light reflected from them.

The shell of the Abalone is solid and tough. One of the shell’s natural beauties is its iridescent color when cut and polished to make home decor or home furnishing products.

What Is Mother Of Pearl Or Nacre?

Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl, also known as Nacre, is a material produced by mollusks as an inner shell layer. The inner pearl layer, or mother of pearl, is found in the inner mollusk shells.

When most people think of the mother of pearls, they think of pearls used for jewelry. They are essentially the same material, but a pearl was formed when a piece of sand got in the shell and irritated the mollusk so a pearl was formed around the sand particles.

Mother of Pearl Vase By Mondoro Company Limited

Mother of Pearl shells can come in a variety of colors, from white to grey and pink tones. It can also be dyed in a variety of colors.

Differences Between Mother Of Pearl And Abalone

Although different, the mother of pearl and Abalone can often be lumped as the mother of pearl or Nacre.

To help clarify the differences between abalone and mother of pearl, here are some of the significant differences:

Type Of Shell –

Abalone is a gastropod mollusk or marine organism, considered a marine snail. The mother of pearls is a composite material produced by a mollusk, but a different variety or type of mollusk. It is the pearl inner layer found in shells.

Shell Differences –

One of the significant differences between the Abalone and the Mother of Pearl is that the Abalone is a marine organism. Still, the mother of pearl is the inner layer inside the shell.

Shell Location –

The Abalone is a marine shellfish or animal usually found in colder sea waters. Mother of Pearl can be found in marine or freshwater areas; often, mother of pearl is harvested in what is known as pearl farms.

Iridescent –

The abalone shell is usually more iridescent than the pearl shell’s mother.

Colors –

The mother of pearl shells can come in various colors, from white and grey to pink; we can also dye the mother of pearl shells. The abalone shell is usually used in the natural iridescent color of the shell.

Cost –

Abalone is usually more expensive; first, the meat for Abalone is a delicacy, and Abalone can be harder and more expensive to find. The mother of pearl is usually cheaper as the muscle or the inner part is eaten, and the outer shell is used for the mother of pearl. It is much easier to find mother-of-pearl shells than Abalone.

Creating Pearls –

Both the mother of pearl and Abalone can create pearls, but their pearls will not be the same. A pearl created from a mother-of-pearl shell can be white; that is how most people think about pearls. In contrast, the Abalone pearl would have a variety of iridescent colors.

Toughness –

Both abalone and mother of pearl are considered extremely tough, but the abalone shell is regarded as a tougher surface due to its nature and how it is formed. Research has shown that abalone shells are 3,000 times more fracture-resistant than a single crystal of calcium carbonate; this means the abalone shell surface is extremely tough.

Uses –

Both abalone and mother-of-pearl shells can be cut into various shapes for mother-of-pearl furniture and home decor. Usually, Abalone is cut to cover an entire surface, and the mother of pearl can be cut up to various sizes and shapes to be inlaid into lacquerware or wood.

The Abalone and mother-of-pearl finish are great for home furniture and home decor products. We love how versatile they are and that they can be used for various products, including furniture, lamps, boxes, trays, and other home accessories.

Mondoro can produce abalone and mother-of-pearl products with our highly skilled craftsmen and women in Vietnam. Mother of Pearl is an ancient handicraft production in North Vietnam.

If you are interested in seeing how Mondoro can help you manufacture mother of pearl home decor and home furnishing products – we would love to talk to you to see how we can help you.

Find out more about how Mondoro can help you create, develop, and manufacture excellent home decor and furniture products – don’t hesitate to contact me, Anita. Check out my email by clicking here, or become a part of our community and join our newsletter by clicking here.

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Lacquerware And Mother Of Pearl – 10 Reasons We Love Them!

There are many reasons why we love lacquerware and mother-of-pearl products. Lacquerware and mother of pearl are high-quality handmade products that can produce a variety of finishes and techniques in various shapes and sizes.

You can discover more by reading Lacquerware And Mother Of Pearl – 10 Reasons We Love Them! by clicking here.

How To Clean Mother Of Pearl Furniture And Home Decor Items

You can use several methods to clean your mother-of-pearl furniture and home decor items. One method is to use a soft cloth and mild soap to wipe down the mother of pearl; this will help remove any dust and clean the surface. The other method uses natural, olive, or coconut oil to polish the mother-of-pearl surface.

You can discover more by reading How To Clean Mother Of Pearl Furniture And Home Decor Items by clicking here.

How do you identify if the mother of Pearl is real? Spotting What’s Fake

When considering a Mother of Pearl for home decor and home furnishing products, you need to ensure that the mother of pearl you are getting is the highest quality real Mother of Pearl. You can do some basic tests to help you ensure that the Mother of Pearl you are purchasing is a natural material and not a fake version of Mother of Pearl.

You can discover more by reading How To Identify If Mother Of Pearl Is Real? Spotting What’s Fake by clicking here.

Anita Hummel
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