Mother of Pearl is a natural organic mineral that is created by living organisms. Molluscs such as oysters and abalones secrete proteins that contain calcium carbonate to produce this hard, beautiful mineral. Mother of Pearl can be made into jewelry, buttons, tiles and finely cut designs to use as inlay decoration on woodwork. This mineral is usually an iridescent or shiny white, but can also be light gray in color.

Things You'll Need

Purchase Mother of Pearl tiles or pieces. These may be from oyster shells or a New Zealand shellfish called Paua. Mother of Pearl will vary in thickness and color, so try to choose matching or complimentary pieces for your inlay or jewelry project.

Use the tracing paper and pencil to draw the desired shapes and sizes on the Mother of Pearl pieces. Wear safety glasses and carefully use the circular or piercing saw to cut the pieces you have traced.

Use the sandpaper or a grinding stone to finish each piece by smoothing the edges. Next use your cut Mother of Pearl pieces to form unique jewelry or as inlaid design work on wooden tables, dressers and boxes.


  • Mother of Pearl can also be grinded into dust and added to paint to make decorative pearlized paint. Additionally, Mother of Pearl paint can be purchased and used on ceramic tiles or pieces to make faux pieces.