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Mother of pearl   


Organic gemstone properties

Organic gems are formed by the biological processes of living organisms found on land and underwater. The main organic gems from animals are pearl, ivory, shell (mother-of-pearl) and coral. Those derived from plants are amber and jet. For more information on amber and jet see our gemstone properties page. Other organic gems and collectibles include tagua nuts (vegetable ivory) and fossils like shark teeth and dinosaur eggs.


Mother of pearl beadMother-of-pearl is nacre, the smooth calcium carbonate lining of iridescent luster found in various shells. Nacres is the material from which pearls are made. Although not a gemstone, its healing properties are a peaceful healing energy from the sea. Relaxes, soothes emotions, sensitivity and stress. Mother of pearl represents money and wealth.


Coral beadCoral consists of the branching skeletons of animals (marine polyps) which live in colonies planted on the seabed at depths varying from tens to hundreds of meters in warmish to very warm seas. Their dense limestone skeletons cluster together and build up over thousands of years into coral reefs and coral islands.

Coral comes in white, red, pink, blue, golden and black colors. All corals have a delicate graining of stripes or spots in their structure. Coral is said to promote general physical and mental well-being and to be of particular assistance to those suffering from anemia, bladder conditions, colic and whooping cough. It has been used as a form of protective magic for children for hundreds of years.
Coral's healing properties are mostly associated with women, young children and the elderly. For women it is said to increase fertility and regulate menstruation. For young children, it is recommended to ease teething and to prevent epilepsy. For the elderly, it is used as a cure for arthritis.

Black coral beads, in particular, are also known as "yusr", which could be loosely translated as "blessing", which is believed to be granted to the holder of these mystical beads, thanks to their intrinsic spiritual powers.


Ivory beadsIvory is the hard white dentine from the tusks of elephants and some other animals like walruses and sperm whales. Ivory has a creamy color which yellows with time, excellent texture and is elastic. Because of its great popularity, ivory has led to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of African elephants (the major source of ivory because of the size of the tusks). This led to an international treaty in 1989 banning ivory trade. In 1997, restrictions were eased to allow some stock to be traded.
Today, many substitutes are used like bone, horn, vegetable ivory (tagua nut) and plastic. Genuine ivory can still be found as vintage beads at very high prices. Ivory is said to protect the physical body from injury.

Sandalwood beadsOrganic materials

Particularly for komboloi, other organic materials used are wood, bone, horn, nuts, seeds and pits. There is a group of komboloi lovers who claim that komboloi should only be made with organic materials (materials that used to be alive) and not with gemstones or other minerals.

Kukui nut

Kukui nutThe Kukui is the state tree of Hawaii. The indigenous kukui, better known as the candlenut tree, is the symbol of the `Aha Kupuna, the council of elders, because the Hawaiian word "Kukui" means enlightened. Hard-shelled kukui nuts take such a brilliant luster that they resemble polished gemstones.

Kukui tree seeds are very rich in oil. The valuable oil expressed from seeds is used as a light source and as a mild cathartic. Seeds were strung together and burned like a candle. Hawaiians also extracted the oil for many other uses: to shine and waterproof wooden bowls, to mix with charcoal to make black canoe paint, to burn as torches and to burn in stone lamps for light. Today the oil is used in many beauty products made in Hawaii including tropical sun tanning oils.

Rudraksha seeds

Rudraksha seedsRudraksha trees grow throughout Java and the lower altitudes of Tibet. It is believed that after God Siva awoke from one thousand years of meditation and shed tears of worldly compassion, the tears were crystallized into the seeds which gave birth to the Rudraksha tree (Elaeocarpus Ganitrus).

Their seeds are used widely in Hindu malas (prayer beads). The surface of the seed is rough, and it is segmented into five sections. Seeds with a differing number of segments are sought after. Rudraksha come in a variety of colors and sizes. The most common is a dark reddish brown.

Ebony, teak, olive, sandal- and other woodWooden bead

Wood is one of the traditional materials used in komboloi and early worry beads. Most wood transfers the properties and symbolism of the tree onto the bead. Sandalwood is known for its natural fragrance. The olive tree represents knowledge and wisdom.


Organic materials are soft and porous. They scratch easily and absorb cosmetics, perfume and chemicals like hair spray. They should not be dipped in chemical cleaners but rather wiped clean with a moist cloth. It is unwise to store them for lengthy periods of time in a closed container because dry air may cause the gems to crack.

    Organic gem properties
    Amber properties
    Gemstone properties
   KOMBOLOI UP TO 10.00 €
   KOMBOLOI 10.00 - 25.00 €
   KOMBOLOI 25.00 - 50.00 €
   KOMBOLOI OVER 50.00 €

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