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  1. #1
    Pearl Designer & Collector Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Default Cause of Several Layers of Missing Nacre in Natural Pearls such as this?

    Hi All,

    Came across these photos of an Antique (natural ?) pearl and am naturally find it very interesting. I have wondered before what is the actual cause of missing nacre such as this pearl displays in abundance.

    Could it be a parasite? Or could it be something else inside the oyster that stops the oyster from laying down an even layer of nacre? Or is the nacre laid down and then eaten away by a parasite?

    Looks a little like it has been nibbled on by a mouse. If totally clean it would be a magnificent pearl IMHP .

    Would love to know the thoughts of all.

    I am having problems with one of the photos but will try again.

    Dawn - Bodecia
    eBay Seller ID dawncee333 - natural pearl collector and all round pearl lover.
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  2. #2
    Pearl Designer & Collector Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Default

    This photos shows the extremely nibbled on look.

    Dawn - Bodecia
    eBay Seller ID dawncee333 - natural pearl collector and all round pearl lover.
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  3. #3
    Co-Founder: Cortez Pearls Senior Guide Member CortezPearls's Avatar
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    Default

    Wear & Tear??? Bad jeweler??? Did they tell if it came out this way??? It could've had a "gas/protein pocket" beneath some layers of nacre and it could have just broken down, leaving the pearl with this scar, then being "polished" down with use. Can you use a microscope to see the damage on the nacre???
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno
    Co-Founder Cortez Pearl Farm
    Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico
    Website: www.perlas.mx
    Douglas McLaurin's Blog
    Sustainable Cortez Pearl Jewelry: perlasmexicanas.com

    The Pearl is a beautiful but Harsh Mistress...and I am its Loving Servant!

  4. #4
    Pearl Designer & Collector Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Default

    Hi Douglas,
    I don't have it but might end up with it. If I do end up with it I will try to get a really good look at it although I don't own a microscope at the moment but do have one of those thingies that can take microscopic photos once plugged in to a computer. Might be able to use that if I can work out how to get it going. I had actually forgotten all about.

    Gas or protein pocket - I had never considered that. I did think afterward could there have been a really bad year or two in whatever region it came from that caused the last layers of nacre that were laid down to become dirty and scummy looking. If the nacre was all like the spot that is without the last layers of nacre it would look beautiful.

    In the last photo you will also see that the missing nacre obvious in the first photo is not the only lot of damage. At about 4 p.m. on the last pearl you should be able to make out more missing nacre over white a large area and then all around that area from about 3 to 6 it looks nibbled on around the edge which is obviously more damage.

    I have sent away for more photos and ask for photos of these areas in particular.

    Dawn - Bodecia
    eBay Seller ID dawncee333 - natural pearl collector and all round pearl lover.

  5. #5
    Natural Pearl Connoisseur Senior Guide Member DrTKStern's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi, Dawn,

    We sometimes run across old pearls with identical peeling off of a partial layer. In many natural saltwater pearls, on xray or CT, you can see lamellar rings of nacre, like in a redwood tree stump counting the years of life. I'm not sure what makes the rings, but I've always thought the splitting probably occurs between rings.

    Best regards,
    Tom

  6. #6
    Pearl Designer & Collector Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Default

    Hi Tom,


    Thanks for that. Could my off the top of my head idea of the area where the pearl was fished having bad storms and possibly some kind of pollution be totally far fetched or could it possibly be along the right path.

    I was thinking too along the lines of the line growth of trees which is why the above idea came to mind. The area where the nacre is missing, either from splitting and peeling or other means has so much more lustre than the rest of the pearl. When there is a drought or when weather is extremely cold for a few years this shows up in the rings of trees and I wondered it this pearl is suffering from something along that line. A result of weather, seas cold or hot, pollution etc. Just a thought but it would be so interesting to know what actually causes this.

    Thanks once again Douglas and Tom,

    Dawn - Bodecia
    eBay Seller ID dawncee333 - natural pearl collector and all round pearl lover.

  7. #7
    Pearl Designer & Collector Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Default

    Tom,

    Have you ever found a way to clean up these antique pearls. Some kind of polishing method or chemicals that would not damage them. To get the top layers off would be a wonderful thing. Maybe a few hours in mineral oil and then some kind of polish. I really hate to give up on a natural pearl especially when it has such underlying beauty.

    Dawn - Bodecia
    eBay Seller ID dawncee333 - natural pearl collector and all round pearl lover.

  8. #8
    Inactive Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Default

    Might be a candidate for this treatment, thanks to Cortez Pearls.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYudUBAGGJE

    BTW Doug, can you post some of those natural pearl cross sections, pretty please?

  9. #9
    Pearl Designer & Collector Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Default

    Thank you Dave,

    I did know it can be done or had been done in the past, but thought it was now a lost art more or less. But .... the patience and steady hand needed if using an extremely sharp surgical knife is scarey. Still would love to try it one day. Thanks for the video. Will watch it again and again. Like and Ugly Duckling turning into a Swan. Which is just what it is of course.

    I should have some more photos of it by tomorrow.

    Dawn - Bodecia
    eBay Seller ID dawncee333 - natural pearl collector and all round pearl lover.

  10. #10
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Default

    Pearl Man 69!!!! I have seen a few of his videos before, but this time I subscribed! Sorry to act like such a fan, but I am. This guy is the best pearl teacher in the world. He may be the only person who actually teaches pearls from set to setting. The combination of his blog entries on perlas.com and his Youtube videos are a brilliant body of work taking its own respectable place in the pearl world. I told him a while ago, that reading his blog is like taking a pearl course; I come away having learned something. It's from a teacher who can keep junior high kids on topic. NISM?

    Everyone in the pearl world knows who he is as the public face of Cortez Pearls; they should know what he does besides grow the most unique pearls in the world. He sheds all kinds of light on the Mysterious Pearl- in an entertaining way. BTW He will be a presenter at the Pearl-Guide.com Conference this July 23rd.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  11. #11
    Art historian and devout NCN Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Nora's Avatar
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    Well said Caitlin. We are also fans of Douglas. He is amazing.
    Nora

  12. #12
    Pearl Designer & Collector Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Default MORE PHOTOS of ANTIQUE PEARL

    Hi all,

    I have more photos finally. It does show even more cracking on the section of missing layer in at least one of the areas where nacre is missing.

    Wish I was able to peel the pearl as in Douglas's video. What a great video and what a great site for Cortez pearls. I spent a large part of last nice reading his Blog and once again going over the Cortez pearl site.

    You are very generous with information Douglas and it is much appreciated.

    If I saw a puppy or kitten or other animal in need I would rescue it and this is the way I feel about this pearl. Not very bright of me but the way I feel. Although these lastest photos really do show that it has suffered severely and it would probably not be possible to save it.

    Dawn - Bodecia
    eBay Seller ID dawncee333 - natural pearl collector and all round pearl lover.
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  13. #13
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Default

    Dawn
    I have a klonk necklace of black dyed fw pearls with missing nacre chunks. I wear it anyway. It is hard to get pearls of that size and if the tradeoff is the missing chunks, I don't mind.

    I would wear that little guy, as is. It is a natural form of what that Pearl Carver does.... Something can brighten the surface up a bit. It looks dried out. I don't like peeled, when it is to a bead, but when there is nacre below, it is like a little window.

    I would unstick it and rotate it a bit so the prong isn't on it. Maybe the linseed oil lightly? Several times on this forum I have heard of peelers currently operating, maybe one will present.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  14. #14
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
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    So enticing! What is the worst that can happen? You would still have a nice gold ring that could hold one of Douglas's pearls.
    GemGeek
    The World Is My Oyster!

  15. #15
    Co-Founder: Cortez Pearls Senior Guide Member CortezPearls's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GemGeek View Post
    So enticing! What is the worst that can happen? You would still have a nice gold ring that could hold one of Douglas's pearls.
    Nooo....you can first start using some cheap pearls. Learn the trade slowly, then: use the natural pearl. It is hard to explain but let us say that the "micro-technique" used for peeling pearls is loosely based on the ancient technique of stone-tools: you can chip away bits of nacre imitating the "arrow making technique" of stone-age people, but without hitting the pearl: you'll use the knife/scalpel to flake-away the nacre. Maybe this page can help.

    Now, Dave wanted a photo of a cross section of a natural pearl...so, I'm glad to comply (taken from our Blog). On the left the structure of an onion, to the right a natural pearl.
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno
    Co-Founder Cortez Pearl Farm
    Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico
    Website: www.perlas.mx
    Douglas McLaurin's Blog
    Sustainable Cortez Pearl Jewelry: perlasmexicanas.com

    The Pearl is a beautiful but Harsh Mistress...and I am its Loving Servant!

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