Could someone please for the last time tell me the differences between MOP and troca? I have seen them side-by-side, heard different stories from people in the industry, but never one solid answer. Please enlighten me.
Mother-of-Pearl buttons are made ONLY from Oyster Shells (see my photos on previous page). Pearls come from oysters; hence oysters are the 'mothers' of pearl(s). Although I have seen a few other shells which have the luminescent qualities of M-O-P, none are thick enough for making buttons. In short, there is NO shell which equals the look of real M-O-P. "Troca" is catchall slang for any (usually white or whitish) shell which is thick enough to make into a button. All shells have some sort of luminescense - with oysters being at the top of the heap. The shell usually used for troca is the Conch shell. If you think about it, due to the fact that a conch spirals inward, there is a heck of a lot of shell there. stache
It makes sense if women are encouraged to sleep in their pearls ( in order to keep them supplied with body oil) that a mop button would get dried out and crack eventually regardless of qualtiy.
My most precious buttons are a few hundred I have which were made in the mid-1800's in Muscatine, Iowa by a group of settlers who were actually ex-pat Europeans whose trade in the old country had been hand-carving buttons. My first girlfriend has dried out. My ex has dried out. My Muscatine buttons haven't "dried out" yet. Maybe it is because they've been sleeping with each other for 150 years?