Siminetti Mother of Pearl; Why is it so expensive?

Siminetti produces decorative panels and mosaic tiles in various styles to complement an exhaustive range of luxury spaces. Our surfaces can be seen adorning hotels, wellness facilities and residential premises in the form of wallcoverings, flooring, artwork, hallway features, and welcome receptions, but what is it that makes our collections so expensive?

Since our beginnings in 2010 Siminetti has pursued a mission of creating surfaces that are awe-inspiring and kind to the planet we live in. Here lies the first of the contributing factors; Siminetti extensively analyses all of our suppliers to ensure they meet strict environmental & ecological standards. We have one planet, protecting the oceans is of fundamental importance to us and we refuse to work with those who do not share this mindset.

Along with strict environmental standards, suppliers are also held to high standards with the quality of raw material they supply. Nacre (mother of pearl) can not be easily altered or adapted. The material which we receive therefore needs to be of the highest quality. Nacre comes in a great many colours from a variety of Abalone, Oyster shells and some mussels. The colours of the outer layers of nacre derive from the types of algae, seaweed and other substances the shellfish feed upon. The unique colours are further exaggerated when light shines on the inner layers of the shell, the layers of nacre interfere with the reflections of light on the outer layer and create unique iridescent effects. If you wish to read our sustainability statement you can view it here.

Sustainable farming means many things to many people. ASC ensures that the farms accredited with their certification meet a strict set of rules for their environmental impact and fair treatment of workers. ASC certified farms ensure they are not situated within areas with key biological or ecological functions, will cause no harm to threatened or endangered species, and escapes minimised to protect the natural diversity. All feed provided needs to be fully traceable and regular tests are conducted on the site to measure pollution with strict limits set in place.

Saltwater Vs Freshwater mother of pearl surfaces?

There is a sizeable difference in price between our saltwater and freshwater offering. Why? Largely this is due to the size of the shell. The freshwater shellfish which is the source of our Bianco mother of pearl can grow to a vast size, this means we can produce a large number of mosaic tesserae per shellfish. Saltwater shellfish, however, are typically much rarer and smaller in size. It is this which makes our Innocence mother of pearl our most exclusive offering. The shells are typically only large enough to produce (3) – 25mm tesserae!

So the saltwater shellfish are rare, but how rare exactly? The saltwater fish which produce our innocence, tranquillity, golden promise, and midnight pearl, all grow in different oceans with no overlap. They all require specific conditions to live and specific nutrients which give them their unique colours.

Our Midnight Pearl is sourced from the French Polynesia, Tahiti and its surrounding islands. The shells are found at a maximum of 3″ wide by 1″ making very few tesserae per shell. Using only the finest shells means that within the iridescent reflections of midnight pearl you can find every colour of the rainbow.

Tranquillity is sourced from Indo-pacific waters and again tends to be a smaller shell measuring around 4.5″. The mother of pearl shell is brown in appearance and grows in a winged shape similar in appearance to a butterfly with closed wings. The shape results in few tesserae being produced from each shell. Despite its larger size than midnight pearl the two will produce the same average number of tesserae.

Our Golden Promise is sourced in the Philippines. It is the specific living conditions of the waters which give the shell its unique golden appearance. The same species of mollusc that create the shells grow in other oceans around the world. It is however only in the Philippines that the shell is produced with a stunning golden hue.

Innocence is found in the northern and western oceans surrounding Australia. More commonly found with a white appearance, the silver variant used for our innocence colourway is our most desirable finish. Due to the variance in the appearance of this shell, precise measures are followed to ensure our clients receive the finest possible consistency across their order.

Seduction, the last of our saltwater finishes is sourced from New Zealand and can reach a maximum size of 8″ (20cm). The shell is prized highly for its stunning turquoise colour and rainbow sheen. The marine mollusc responsible for the shell survives on seaweed and can only be harvested through freediving, the use of oxygen tanks is strictly prohibited to prevent over fishing.

Mother of Pearl Decorative Panels

The next tier in our exclusive surfaces, our decorative panels are made to your exact dimensions including any required cut-outs up to a size of 2.4m x 1.2m. Pre-mounted on a aluminium backing as standard the panels provide a luxurious alternative to traditional mosaic tiles. The price point for our decorative panels average three times the cost per square meter compared to the mosaics. So why? The highly detailed patterns require expert artistry from our team of artisans, who hand cut every individual piece that makes up the designs. With our more linear designs such as 20mm this process is not greatly more complex than that of the mosaics. hence the price difference is not as great as you may expect.

Our Seasons collection is our most desirable collection to date with highly detailed patterns inspired by nature. The intricacy requires the best of our artisans, implementing their extensive wealth of knowledge to ensure the repeating patterns are consistent, and the hundreds of tesserae required join precisely. These ground breaking designs take Siminetti away from more linear styles and showcase the beauty of mother of pearl in a more deserving fashion. In only one square foot of Natures Herringbone in Golden Promise there is approximately 350 pieces of Bianco and 200 pieces of Golden Promise. Putting that into perspective, if working off the maximum size of panel we can produce you would have 11,200 pieces of Bianco and 6400 of Golden Promise. With the shell for golden promise only producing a couple of tesserae per shell, thousands of shells are required to create the panels.

Should you wish to find out more about our surfaces or view samples, email or call your nearest representative using the information on our contact us page.

Mosaic Tiles