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What is the difference between Seapearl and dove wing?

What is the difference between Seapearl and dove wing?

Seapearl and dove wing refer to two different materials used in jewelry making. Seapearl is a type of pearl that comes from certain mollusks in the sea, while dove wing refers to iridescent feathers plucked from doves. Though both produce shimmering effects, there are some key differences between seapearl and dove wing in terms of their origins, textures, colors and uses in jewelry. This article will explore the distinguishing features of each material to help readers understand what sets them apart.

What is Seapearl?

Seapearl is a type of pearl that forms in certain mollusks that live in saltwater environments. Pearls form when an irritant, such as a small parasite or piece of sand, gets trapped inside the mollusk’s mantle tissue. To protect itself from irritation, the mollusk secretes nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, around the irritant. Layer upon layer of nacre coats the irritant, eventually forming a pearl.

Some key facts about seapearl:

– Formed by mollusks such as oysters, mussels, clams or scallops
– Formed in marine or brackish environments
– Has a shimmery, iridescent appearance
– Interior is made of nacre (mother-of-pearl)
– Available in a range of sizes from small seed pearls to very large baroque pearls
– Natural pearl colors include white, silver, pink, gold and black
– Cultured versions available in wider variety of colors through dyeing
– Durability makes it suitable for jewelry

The iridescent shimmer of seapearl comes from the microscopic structure of nacre. It is composed of aragonite crystals arranged in hexagonal plates that refract light. The layered internal structure causes light hitting the pearl to break up into shifting colors. This creates the soft, rainbow-like sheen that makes seapearl so prized in jewelry.

What is Dove Wing?

Dove wing refers to the iridescent feathers that are plucked from doves and other members of the pigeon family, Columbidae. The feathers come from areas on the bird’s body like the neck, breast and wings. When viewed up close, the feathers have a shimmery, mother-of-pearl sheen similar to seapearl.

Some key facts about dove wing:

– Plumage plucked from domesticated doves or wild pigeons
– Iridescence comes from light refraction in feather structure
– Varies from purple, teal, green, blue and pink iridescence
– Delicate, lightweight and translucent
– Traditionally used in fashion accessories like hats
– Now used in jewelry making as well
– Has a more fragile texture than seapearl

The iridescent effect in dove wing comes from the feather’s microscopic design. Feathers contain structures like melanosomes and keratin that cause incoming light waves to interfere and amplify specific colors. The shape, spacing and orientation of these structures determine the feather’s hue. The delicate strands that branch off the feather rachis also help break up and reflect the light.

Differences Between Seapearl and Dove Wing

Though seapearl and dove wing are both iridescent materials used in jewelry, there are some key differences between the two:

Seapearl Dove Wing
Formed by mollusks in marine environments Plumage plucked from doves/pigeons
Interior is composed of nacre (mother-of-pearl) Iridescence comes from feather structure
Naturally forms in the mollusk Feathers are plucked from birds
Very durable material Delicate, fragile feathers
Available in range of shapes/sizes Limited by feather size/shape
Wide color range including dyed colors More limited natural iridescent colors
Opaque material Translucent feathers
Smooth, glossy texture Delicate feather strands

In summary, the main differences are that seapearl is produced by mollusks, has a durable nacre interior, and has a higher natural color variety. Meanwhile, dove wing comes from feathers, is more delicate, and has a narrower iridescent color range.

Seapearl Uses in Jewelry

Seapearl has been used extensively in jewelry making throughout history. Some common ways it is incorporated into jewelry designs include:

– Seapearl beads – Small seapearls can be drilled and stringed into necklaces. They are also used in bracelets or earrings.

– Seapearl cabochons – Large baroque pearls can be polished and shaped into oval cabochons to set into rings, pendants, brooches, etc.

– Seapearl inlays – Pieces of seapearl can be cut to inlay into metals like silver or gold.

– Seapearl accents – Half-pearls or small pearls added as accents on rings, drop earrings, jewelry boxes, etc.

– Seapearl motifs – Images like flowers or animals can be made from small seapearls.

– Seapearl shells – Entire pearl mollusk shells can be used in jewelry designs.

– Mabe seapearls – Half-pearls mounted on mother-of-pearl shells.

– Seapearl jewelry sets – Matching necklaces, earrings, rings featuring seapearls.

Dove Wing Uses in Jewelry

Dove wing has traditionally been used in fashion accessories, but has become increasingly popular in jewelry as well. Some common ways dove wing is used in jewelry include:

– Dove wing beads – Small pieces drilled and strung into necklaces or bracelets.

– Dove wing strips – Delicate strips wrapped into rings or bracelets.

– Dove wing cabochons – Feathers shaped into oval cabochons for rings, pendants, etc.

– Dove wing inlaid – Small pieces inlaid into metals like silver or titanium.

– Dove wing accent feathers – Small intact feathers added as accents on earrings, hair clips, brooches.

– Dove wing motifs – Feather pieces arranged into flower and animal shapes.

– Preserved dove wings – Intact dove wings preserved through taxidermy methods.

– Dove wing jewelry sets – Matching dove wing necklace, earrings, ring sets.

– Dove wing enamelwork – Feathers used as inspiration for colorful enamel jewelry.


In summary, seapearl and dove wing both produce beautiful iridescent effects in jewelry, but have some clear differences. Seapearl comes from mollusks, is very durable, and has a wider natural color range. Dove wing is more delicate, comes directly from feathers, and has a more limited iridescence. Jewelry makers utilize both materials in creative ways, but seapearl is better suited to standalone stones while dove wing is often an accent or inspiration. Understanding their origins, textures and structural colors helps illustrate why both continue to be coveted in jewelry making today.