Mother of pearl craftwork was originated from West Zhou Dynasty, up to now; it is over 3000 years history. This kind of mother of pearl inlay craftwork prevailed in Ming Dynasty 400 years ago. The core of mother of pearl inlay is that some craftworks are inlaid with mother of pearl and the surface looks very shining and beautiful. Mother of pearl is one kind of best shells. To make a shell into a thin shell sheet is a complicated and labor-cost process.
As mentioned above, the shells used for mother of pearl inlay are abalone shell and pearl shells, the best shells in the world. The shells with an age of 5-30 years are imported from Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Philippines. Mother of pearl inlay requires very strictly sourcing the material. High quality shell have 4 features: 1) thick and solid 2) color 3) long period of growth 4) no pollution. The shells used for mother of pearl inlay craftworks are full of these features.
Beginning with peeling the skin of a raw shell, the making process includes peeling, cutting, milling, dying and polishing and totally over 30 working processes. The most impressive feature is, a mother of pearl handicraft is made by hands.
In ancient times, shell was used for circular currency to exchange commodity. In ancient China, shell represented fortune and value and it had been inherited from then on. A quite number of Chinese characters are make up of shell. To own a shell product means possessing fortune. In a word, shell represents not only fortune but also culture.