South-sea pearl earings and the backs of our mother-of-pearl buttons

What is a gold-lipped mother of pearl button?


Our mother of pearl buttons are from the only oyster in the world that produces golden pearls.  The oyster, the rather underwhelmingly named Pinctada maximia, comes in two varieties – the gold-lipped and the silver-lipped.  Each has a different colour on the outer edge of the inside of their shells. The gold-lipped oysters produce a nacre which has a light gold hue to a deep orange gold. The silver-lipped has a mainly white nacre with a range of overtones from silver to pale pink.

The oyster is found in pristine, sheltered waters of the South Seas (commonly known as the South Pacific) where there are rich sources of plankton for them to feed on. The gold-lipped oysters are mostly farmed in Myanmar, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, and the silver-lipped in Australia. 

The Myanmar gold-lipped pearl oyster is particularly known for their unique burnt gold and apricot coloured pearls, and this is reflected in the nacre of their shell.  Our mother of pearl buttons, while being an exceptional pearlescent white, have a golden hue. Some can appear completely gold when the light hits them while others have a clear patch of gold in places.

The backs of our buttons are where you can really see the gold.  Unlike the mottled, dirty brown backs of the Akoya mother of pearl buttons, the backs of our buttons are dominated by a golden hue.  This makes a great colour contrast should someone see the back of your buttons when your clothes swish as you move.

The photo above shows the front and back of our buttons together with a matching pair of pearl earrings - a pair of white South Sea pearl earrings and a pair of the rare golden South Sea pearl earrings.

Our buttons are of an extremely high iridescence so they also pick up the colours of the material that they are on.  Mother of pearl is iridescent because of the layers of calcium carbonate which form the nacre; and these layers are similar to the wave length of light. The thicker the nacre, the more iridescent it is.  As our buttons come from a variety of oyster that has one of the thickest nacres, our buttons have an exceptional iridescence.   Our buttons can pick up on a single colour or a multitude, transforming themselves into a rainbow.

Kanukama mother of pearl buttons are more than just a sparkling white addition to your clothing, but are a never-ending infinite possibility of colour.


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