In tribute to professor Evelyne Lopez


Nov 18, 2010
The world of pearl and mother-of-pearl is in mourning. This article is written in tribute to french professor Evelyne Lopez who passed away on October 24th. Researcher and professor emeritus of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris associated with the CNRS, she was particularly interested during her career in animal physiology, endocrinology and marine biology, placing these disciplines in the context of evolution organic.

From the 1990s, Evelyne Lopez had notably undertaken to study the properties of a very particular substance: nacre (or mother-of-pearl) extracted from the shell of the pearl oyster of the genus Pinctada. She discovered that nacre - biomineral composite and natural ceramics - stores since ancestral times, about 300 million years, biocompatible substances able to exert a positive biomedical activity for humans, without phenomenon of rejection. These messenger substances (ie which give signals) are recognized by the cells of the skeleton (bone and cartilage) as well as the cells of the skin, with the capacity to activate them. Evelyne Lopez had gained international renown in her field of research and has left more than 150 national and international publications in the best scientific journals, notably "Nature".


From 2006, she had begun a collaboration with "Emperor of the Pearl" Robert Wan. He was fascinated by the power of mother-of-pearl, which echoes traditional Chinese medicine of his childhood. With help from Professor Lopez, he discovered the potential applications of nacre powder in restorative medicine and orthopedics, for the treatment of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis ... also in cosmetics and skin care (scarring, burn treatment ...). He participated in the manufacture of active substances from his mother-of-pearl Pinctada Margaritifera and launched a range of skincare products for the face and the body.

One of Evelyne Lopez's students, Marthe Rousseau, is continuing research on nacre in the SainBiose laboratory at the Faculty of Medicine in Saint-Etienne, France with the aim of having nacre powder recognized as a Health Ingredient in the context of osteoporosis. Lastly, it must be remembered that Evelyne Lopez, as scientific director, had been responsible for the design and production of a cosmeceutical range "Nacre Australe" launched by Clinifutur parisian laboratories in early October 2019.

So long Evelyne ... Rest in Peace.
I had the privilege to travel with Evelyne and spent long hours discussing with her about pearls and nacre, her research was really fascinating. It gives pearls and nacre a whole new dimension, knowing that somehow we are made with the same stuff oysters and also pearls are made of ! The invention of biomineralization is a major innovation in the history of evolution and life. Think of shell as an exoskeleton that led later to our own endoskeleton that is made of mineral tissues (bones). The organic molecules that the oyster uses to biomineralize are similar to those used by vertebrates. In our days of biomimetics, i have great hopes that the best is yet to come regarding the use of nacre powder as health ingredient. Life is amazing, insnt it ?
RIP Evelyne. I am happy to see her work continue in the capable hands of one of her students, Marthe Rousseau, and hope that she is as successful as her mentor. Thank you for letting us know Cumingi.
Dear Pattye,

Thank you for your reply. What a loss indeed. You can find some of her scientific publications online by searching lopez+nacre, although most of them can be quite abstruse!
As an introduction to her work, i can suggest one article by her student Marthe Rousseau: nacre as a biomaterial.
All my best