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Hope these help your understanding.

What is mother of pearl?

Mother of pearl (common name for nacre) is a smooth shining iridescent substance produced by some molluscs, especially oysters and abalones, as an inner shell layer to coat and protect them from parasites and/or foreign objects.


How does mother of pearl get its iridescent appearance?

Nacre (commonly known as mother of pearl), an organic composite material, is secreted by the epithelial cells of the mollusc.

Nacre is composed of hexagonal platelets of aragonite (a form of calcium carbonate) separated by sheets of organic matrix composed of elastic biopolymers (such as chitin, lustrin, and silk-like proteins). This mixture of brittle platelets and the thin layers of elastic biopolymers makes the material resilient and almost as strong as silicon. Nacre appears iridescent because the thickness of the aragonite platelets is close to the wavelength of visible light. These structures interfere constructively and destructively with different wavelengths of light at different viewing angles, creating a distinct multi-coloured effect and a faint glow.


How many colours are available in mother of pearl?

Mother of pearl gets its colour naturally and is completely dependent on the mollusc’s habitat and food. Mother of pearl is mostly available in shades of white, black, green, golden, and grey.



What is the process of inlay?

Despite the advancement in technology, the precision in workmanship that master artisans achieve with their superb skills cannot be replicated by most modern day machines. Hence, inlay is a laborious process and needs time. The process of inlay commences once the design is finalised. Here is a stepwise process of bringing the proposed design to life.

  1. Design, drawn to its accurate dimensions, is received by the craftsmen.

  2. Design is traced onto respective, if multiple, material.

  3. Material – mother of pearl, semi-precious stone, precious stone, etc. – is cut along the design.

  4. Cut pieces are assembled temporarily and numbered as per the design.

  5. Simultaneously, the surface onto which inlay will be carried out is traced with the design.

  6. According to the lines/curves, craftsmen engrave the design by carving grooves, with 5mm depth, on the surface to be inlaid.

  7. Grooves are filled with adhesive and fitted with corresponding cut pieces one by one.

  8. Care is taken to glue the inlay pieces in the plane of the surface.

  9. Once all the pieces are glued to the surface to form the design, it is left for the adhesive to dry completely.

  10. The surface is polished and buffed when the adhesive is dry and the pieces are firmly glued.

  11. Any extra treatment/polish needed as per the surface is given and the inlaid design is complete.

Can the design be customised?

Absolutely! The designs can be as per your requirement. There is also no restriction on the size of your design.

What care must be taken to ensure the longevity of the product?

Mother of pearl is a resilient material despite its appearance. Having lived in the saltiest of oceans and thriving through the natural elements, mother of pearl is built to last all wear and tear. Its shine increases the more it is exposed to usage.

However, care must definitely be taken of the base material as its need. For example – avoid contact of acidic substances (natural and/or artificial) with marble surfaces; avoid sharp objects that may scratch wooden surface; etc.




Will the design be made at the workshop or on the site?

It completely depends on the site condition; our team has been executing both ways. The team can take up orders for sites in any locations.


Will all the pieces in the inlay/overlay remain glued permanently? What if they fall off?

Inlay: Only mediocre workmanship and/or use of inferior quality products and chemicals will cause inlaid designs to disassemble – neither of which exist at

Overlay: An overlaid design’s piece may chip off when subject to mishandling/rough handling/collision with another surface/etc. The loose piece needs to be glued back by the craftsmen.

| 2023 DESIGN QUARRY | Pune, India
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