Candled Natural Pearls

Lagoon Island Pearls

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Dec 8, 2009
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I've been candling and photographing several natural pearls lately and selected a few that you might find interesting.

It's an excellent alternative to the otherwise expensive process of X-ray from the labs.

Candled natural pearlsCandled natural pearls 2Candled natural pearls 3Image4.jpgImage5.jpgImage6.jpgImage7.jpgImage8.jpgImage10.jpgImage15.jpg
 
what amazing pictures - all the pearls bar one, look like they could still be floating in the ocean - like those stange creatures you sometimes see photos of near the bottom - there's just something 'marine' about them

thanks for posting them Dave
 
This is very hard to photograph. Hmmm... Gonna search for more suggestions to achieve such nice results.
 
It's easy. I used a grey plastic jewelry box, about 1.5 inches square. I drilled a small hole in the bottom and a notch in the side. The hole can be any size smaller than the pearls to be examined. (I made a few of different sizes) Then I soldered an inexpensive LED to the wires of a used 12 volt adapter and place it under the inverted box, the notch allows it to lay flat over the wire.

Then you can use the camera's macro setting or a low power USB microscope to photograph your pearls.
 
Another turn-on. Like little universes unto themselves - endlessly fascinating. :cool:
 
Hi Dave,

Great info. Thanks for posting this.

What type of lighting, camera, etc. do you use to candle these pearls?
I tried to do this using a normal torch.. err... flashlight to you Americans. Would that suffice?
 
I tried to do this using a normal torch.. err... flashlight to you Americans. Would that suffice?

I expanded on the idea from Steve (smetzler) who used a flashlight to candle his pearls. I like the LED box, because it sets nicely on a table or countertop, leaving hands free to set critical focus and run the computer.

And I'm Canadian :D
 
Re: Canadian... Oh right.. sorry... hahaha...

Re: setup for candling...
I picked up a few bluish SSP at the Indonesian Pearl Festival the other day (umm, I am still holding out on pics on you guys).. I was told by one vendor that the blue color is a result of "impurities" in the water that is filtered through by the oysters during the cultivation period. Not being a scientist, I don't even know if this explanation even makes sense. Could this be true?

Curious, I put a torch (flashlight.. ;) heheheh) against all my blue-casted pearls and found that indeed they all have spots/marks throughout the nacre. One green keshi I picked up had the yellow colored nacre with this spots/marks throughout, which I assume is why the keshi is green colored.

I'm going to have to see if I can have a setup like yours and post pics.
 
I was told by one vendor that the blue color is a result of "impurities" in the water that is filtered through by the oysters during the cultivation period. Not being a scientist, I don't even know if this explanation even makes sense. Could this be true?

You were misinformed. The physiology of the graft donor determines color. Some farmers will suggest their pearls have a "tinge" of color apart from other farmers, but I think it's because of regional genetic diversity not necessarily the quality of the water. Any variations are slight, not pronounced. We hear all kinds of tales of black pearls from brackish waters and such, but most are just fables attached to dyed or otherwise misrepresented pearls.

Ambient seawater never contacts the pearl during growth. In every case, elements are uptaken metabolically at an atomic level then reintroduced into the bloodstream. The term "impurities" is meaningless because the entire ocean is made up of millions of combinations of elements, minerals, pathogens and other chemical differences. Shellfish do not eat everything they contact, in fact the opposite is true. They eat only what they can digest at that particular time of year. The remainder of compounds collected are expelled as pseudo-feces.

Here in Canada, we have a lot of freshwater streams and marine estuaries with different elemental compositions from the upland. These differences are detectable in some shells, but pigmentation as a result is not a marker that precedes genetic expression.

Vegetarians don't turn green.
 
You were misinformed. The physiology of the graft donor determines color.

Vegetarians don't turn green.


Are you saying that environmental conditions and the host mollusk has no effect on the color?

Also I'll bring up that flamingos turn pink because of the beta carotene in their diet, same goes for salmon flesh.
 
Love this! Thank you, I will try these suggestions and see what turns up ;)

Vegetarians don't turn green. LOL Thank goodness for that, I don't think green is my color. But the first thing I thought of was the flamingo :cool:
 
Are you saying that environmental conditions and the host mollusk has no effect on the color?

Also I'll bring up that flamingos turn pink because of the beta carotene in their diet, same goes for salmon flesh.

Haha!! I was going to mention ethat, but decided to keep it simple.

If shellfish and flamingos ate the same food it might be the case, but they don't. Even if they did, then it would not be considered an impurity. Shellfish eat single celled or slightly larger organisms. Highly pigmented organisms are far too complexed and large to be ingested by shellfish.
 
Are you saying that environmental conditions and the host mollusk has no effect on the color?

I didn't say that. I mentioned farmers sometimes suggest a "tinge" of color difference, but there is no supporting evidence that this is solely an environmental factor, because for this to be true, the entire harvest would be affected and we'd be able to identify pearls from specific farms just by eyesight.
 
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