Laser Cutting Mother Of Pearl
Taking inspiration from Carry A. Nation's mother of pearl hatchet pins, Jen from 52 Lasers wanted to have a go at laser cutting mother of pearl to make their own pins to sell at a 1910 saloon themed fundraiser for the museum she works at.
Like many natural materials, it can be quite sooty, but is pretty easy to laser cut. The issue Jen had was with the quality of the material. Not fully reading seller reviews, the sheet of mother of pearl that was ordered arrived badly packaged and damaged, but she ploughed on anyway. The next issue became apparent when the paper backing had been peeled off - it's pretty see through! This meant that it didn't look particularly great when stuck to the brushed gold acrylic they were planning to use, and not too much better on silver either.
In the end, they decided to just make the pins without the mother of pearl. It's a shame that the project wasn't successful, as this could have been quite striking. At least this provides a good lesson on researching your sellers and materials before committing to purchase! Don't let this put you off trying new and unusual materials, we're sure there's plenty of better quality sheets of mother of pearl out there. You can read more about this project over on the 52 Lasers blog.