For the first time in the English language, this important book explores the subject of mother-of-pearl (MOP) production and art in depth, and includes over 5,000 photographs of MOP artifacts. The project was undertaken with the express purpose of recording as much information on the historic use of mother-of-pearl, before this information is lost for good. Classifications by use, age, origin, and size make this an indispensable reference for collectors, historians, and tradespeople alike. Mother-of-pearl has been part of humanity's aesthetics for thousands of years, but it was only in the 19th century that artisans reached their height of creativity, producing amazing decorative utilitarian items, presentation pieces, and artwork. This luminous, beautiful, natural material captured the imagination of the public and enjoyed great popularity throughout the 19th century.