Pearl, Pearlys or Mother-of-Pearl.... no matter what you call them they are beautiful examples of buttons made from shells! Both deep-sea shells and freshwater shells have been used, and still are, to make buttons but mother-of-pearl typically refers to deep-sea shell buttons.
Pearls are beautiful when undecorated, allowing the beautiful shell colorations to be the star but they can also be decorated in many ways...carved or cut designs, painted, stenciled, inlaid with other materials, or used to center a metal design.
Many people collect Pearl Buttons for their beauty and intricate designs, others use them to create new items, embellish their creations or accent their items for sale...
Here is what I like to create using vintage Pearlies.... Icicles...to hang on a tree, a gift, a doorknob...wherever you wish.