I stood in the Milstein Hall of Ocean life, hand-in-hand with my boyfriend, in total amazement. The soaring skylight is artificially lit a deep shimmering blue to simulate an underwater environment, the legendary model of a 94-foot blue whale is suspended above my head and I’m peering through a well-conceived display reading about “Diving for Pearls”. This past Sunday afternoon, my Honey and I, spent a rainy afternoon in New York City at the American Museum of Natural History. I enjoyed the “Diving for Pearls” display and after reading about how pearls are formed I was inspired to write today’s post. Look how beautiful the Mariposa flatware (featured above) looks.
Chiefly made from the lining of pearl oysters found in tropical seas, the mother of pearl lends itself naturally to adornment in the form of earrings, necklaces, pendants. Mother-of-pearl buttons are still used on some finer-quality garments and children's clothing. In tableware, flatware made with mother-of-pearl handles was popular during the late 1800s through the 1920s. Today, we are seeing a resurgence of its popularity because many people use it as a change from the heavy look of massed silverware on the table.
(Top: Mother of Pearl tableware, Roost, 415-339-9500; Bottom row: Mother-of-Pearl 5 piece place setting, Horchow; Mother-of-Pearl Canape Knives, Pier 1).
Start clutching your pearls, flatware is being introduced with newer modern styles for the younger and less traditional consumer with materials like mother of pearl, pewter and copper making the table look fashionable and chic. The copper, pewter and mother of pearl flatware accents the tabletop with shimmer and style.
(Top: Mother-of- Pearl 5 piece place setting, Arte Italica; place setting using Mother-of-Pearl flatware; Southern Accents Magazine. Bottom: Mother-of-Pearl bowl and server, Horchow; Mother-of-Pearl 5 piece place setting, Pottery Barn).
I’m not a fan of caviar; however I found this factoid to be quite interesting: one of the more interesting uses for mother-of-pearl is for caviar spoons. Sterling silver or other metals (other than gold) will impart a metallic taste to the caviar. And caviar is not good for metal, either--it will tarnish silver and discolor stainless steel. Mother-of-pearl, however, will nor affect the caviar, nor will the caviar affect it. Plus, mother-of-pearl is inexpensive, easily manufactured, and there's plenty of it.
(Top: Caviar Spoon, Vivre. Bottom: Caviar plate, Vivre).