Nillámina Material in Samthô | World Anvil
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General description

Nillámina is a special kind of mother of pearl that can be harvested only from the Ahóstrea, a flat seashell about as big as an open hand. This seashell lives only in the shallows of the northern Grey Sea and forms a characteristic kind of mother of pearl with a light green and rose-ish shimmer to it. This distinct colour pattern has also earned it the name 'roses and willows'.

Cultivation and harvest

The Ahóstrea is known only from the Grey Sea where it grows on underwater rocks and boulders. It is never found on soft surfaces like sand or mud and always at a certain distance from river inlets. This still leaves plenty of places for the Ahóstrea to grow as the Grey Sea is known for its many shallows and especially its many skerries. Some fishing villages along the shore of the Tarrabaenian state of Salmáné derive the majority of their wealth from the mother of pearl of the Ahóstrea. They fish for subsistence and collect the seashells to extract the mother of pearl. Due to the requirements of the Ahóstrea some villages sank brick walls or just loose bricks to form piles on the seafloor to offer more solid surfaces. This works very well and enabled villages to increase their Nillámina output without having to venture out further into the dangerous Grey Sea.

Economical and cultural role

Before the Confederation of Tarrabaenia was founded, early Tarrabaenians fought hard to get access to the Grey Sea and hold their position. This was mainly in hopes of being able to engage in sea-trade. But the Grey Sea is utterly unnavigable and offered none such advantages. Luckily though it is a steady source of healthy seafood and after a short while the Ahóstrea was discovered, catching the attention of many inland Tarrabaenians. The restrained colours of the quite large plates of mother of pearl became an important trade good for the coastal areas soon. At first it was only a luxury good for the very rich and established, but over time more and more people could afford Nillámina. It is still the most important trade good of the coastal settlements as it is easy to transport and does not have to be preserved for long distance trade.
A lot of handicrafts have incorporated Nillámina, but the most popular product are all kinds of small boxes with Nillámina inlays, mostly with floral patterns like rose blossoms, peony blossoms or magnolia blossoms. These boxes are given a wax finish to prevent them from drawing moisture. These boxes are mainly used for transportation of small and delicate objects or as a storage for jewellery or toiletries.


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