Oyster veneering is a type of parquetry. that was introduced in the 17th century. This technique is indicative of William and Mary furnishings. This type of veneering is called “oyster” because the grain resembles an oyster shell. It is made by cutting across the grain of smaller branches to give an intricate pattern. The veneer is typically sliced very thick, which means that even if oyster veneering is completed in modern day, the finished result looks as though it is an antique.
The most commonly used tree types are walnut, yew, kingwood or olive trees. The circular “oyster” pattern is then veneered one on top of the other, somewhat resembling a log pile. Each branch has a different grain from another branch, so each veneer panel is unique. This gives every piece of furniture that instills oyster veneering its own individual look and the effect is very dramatic once completed.
Relief Oyster Parquetry is another form of parquetry which combines the solidity of form with an informal, more relaxed raised relief oyster parquetry finish. The rich textures create a look which is both sophisticated yet casual.