Mother of Pearl Arts

Mother of pearl is a calcareous material obtained from shellfish such as oysters found in warm seas. This technique of ornament reached today thanks to the Seljuks who produced glorious works of art by carving wood. The most improved and well known examples of mother of pearl ornaments belong to the Ottoman era. Mother of pearl works that reached its peak in the 17th and 18th centuries were used in furniture items such as Koran covers and desks, tables, chairs, sofas, coffee tables and in items of daily use such as pistol grips, clogs, fans, tobacco boxes, coffee sets, etc. In mother of pearl marquetry, mainly geometric patterns, natural patterns such as flowers, leaves, rumi, baroque and arabesque patterns were used.

In the technique known as mother of pearl marquetry, the pearl is placed on the holes or carvings made on the wood and pasted in order to keep it from falling and then it is covered with metal wires. Mother of pearl marquetry is called sedefkâri, and the master who is performing is sedefkâr. Other materials used in mother of pearl art are tortoise shell, ivory, bone, various fillets and precious metals such as gold and silver.

Sadekârlık, which is a branch of sedefkârlık (mother of pearl art) is the art of processing materials such as ivory, tortoise shell, bone, horn, coral, mother pearl, pearl, amber and other precious gems in order to use them for decorating hair bands, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, envelope openers. Sadekârlık reached its peak during the Ottoman era however it nowadays is a lost profession.