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  1. #16
    Inactive Senior Pearl Expert
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    Can these type of lab composition tests be performed without damaging the pearl?
    No, unfortunately. Or at least not to my knowledge. Gem labs are concerned with nacreous pearls for the most part and only certain species.

    Palaentology labs however, are better equipped to provide some insight as to the origin of pearls, but still require a level of conjecture.

    Steve brought up an important point, whether the pearl has the characteristics of a molluscan shell or that of an exoskeleton. Calcium versus keratin. There are a couple of field tests you might try, which can help us come to a better conclusion.

    Drop the pearl in a glass of water. Does it sink rapidly and touch bottom with a "tink" or does it drop slowly and touch softly? The former could indicate calcium and the latter protein.

    Also, run it across a tooth. Does it feel gritty (calcium) or smooth (protein)?

    Do you recall what part of the lobster yielded the pearl? Body, legs/claws or tail? Crustaceans tend to be aggressive scavengers and as such are not beneath fighting for survival. Punctures and cracks in the carapace or extremities often occur and tend to heal quite quickly, because they molt their entire shell several times in their lives. It is possible a parasite found a point of entry, in which case "candling" might reveal it. In the absence of a nucleus, it's possible the pearl was created spontaneously, whether by stress or genetic anomaly.

    Any pearl from an arthropod is rare, but not necessarily uncommon. Though not gem quality, they are certainly unusual and esteemable finds.

  2. #17
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Spain/United Kingdom

    Thumbs up Field test results

    Thank you Dave for your posting and useful insight. Preliminary results, based on the field tests you suggested, would indicate a calcium composition.

    In the first test the pearl sinks quickly with a characteristic tink. The second test is not as conclusive since the texture is not exactly gritty but not totally smooth either.

    If I recall correctly, the pearl was in the main body of the lobster.


  3. #18


    Surprise surprise, I just Googled lobster pearl and came across this forum. I googled lobster pearl, because like you Martin I found what appears to be a pearl in a lobster I was eating last night (1/10/2019). It looks identical to the one that you show. I did the test of scraping it against my tooth and it revealed a soft surface. I scraped the rest of the surface and was left with what appears to be a spherical crystal/glass bead.
    The lobster itself was small, precooked and frozen. Purchased from Lidls and caught in the Atlantic off Canada. The mystery deepens.

  4. #19
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Did you happen to take a photo, peedyng? If so, post it!

  5. #20


    Attachment 74309Attachment 74310Attachment 74311
    While eating lobster tonight I had a piece of claw meat in my mouth and felt a hard sensation. I took the meat out of my mouth and found 3 bead like items embedded in the meat. I have been eating lobster for 50 years and have never seen anything like this. I started googling after dinner and found this forum and other articles. The claw did have trauma as it was sold as a cull due to the much smaller pincher claw. I also noticed a small hole in the claw, a sign of trauma. This seems consistent with how these may form. I did the float test and interestingly, 2 sunk without a clink and one sank halfway and returned to the surface and floated. I did the tooth test and all felt smooth and soft. It was a 5 pound lobster purchased in the fishing village of Point Judith, RI yesterday. I'd be interested in any thoughts. Thanks.
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  6. #21
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005


    Wow, these are definitely a conversation piece! There are some tiny jars that might work to display them. Thanks for sharing your fascinating finds!
    Last edited by pattye; 06-22-2020 at 02:03 AM.


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