I've always wanted to know how beautiful mother of pearl shell inlays are used to embellish small boxes and even furniture.   Now I know. Watch this video which shows how Korean artisans precision cut out delicate shapes and apply them to black lacquered wooden boxes. The presentation is by the South Korean channel, All Process of World

The inlays are not laser cut. A huge stack of pieced together sheets of mother of pearl shell are cut using a scroll saw.  The control and skill of the artisans is admirable when you see how thin the stems of the leaf elements are!

All sides of the boxes are embellished with carefully positioned shell cut outs!  Just gorgeous work. 

The above video does not show how those mother of pearl sheets are made. Watch this video also from the same source, showing the many steps it requires to cut, thin out, polish, sort and assemble rectangles of shell onto a sheet of backing material. Notice how the crafts people wear masks?  This is to protect themselves from the potentially hazardous dust (see this past post which tells a cautionary tale about working unprotected with shell). 

You can purchase the exquisite boxes from February Mountain.  Free shipping to the US. Here is a small selection of my favorites from their Instagram.

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM