Mother of Pearl Produced in China
Pen Shell Tiles (Made in China, Price @ Approximately RMB 2,600 or US$ 412/sq.m as the end of 2012)
Mother of Pearl (MOP), also known as Nacre, is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some molluscs as an inner shell layer; it is also what makes up the outer coating of pearls. It is very strong, resilient, and iridescent. MOP could be used in furniture industry as a new and welcoming material in particular in the luxury home or hospitality furniture. MOP is not a widely used material in China but the industry of MOP production is developing in a fast speed in China which is probably due to the strong demand of the material oversea. At present there are a number of medium and small factories engaging in the MOP panel or shell tiles production. While the price may vary according to the raw material and the quality requirement, the price in term of square meter could be as low as RMB 800 (US$128). One should note that the downstream of the MOP industry in China is still immature as many quality raw materials are still depending on import which results in the relatively high cost as well as the unskilled labor. Anyhow, there is high business potential to develop into this industry using the relatively low labor cost in China and strong demand of the MOP elsewhere in the world.