Candled Natural Pearls

Wow,,,candling can be a good tool but alot to be learned abput interpretation..

I did learn some things & digesting others...Great Thread & special thanks to Dave!!!!
VERY cool! I have tried using a flashlight with poor results. Thank you for this post, I think I have everything I need and now can't wait to get home. 5:00 is now miles away;)
Here are some candled pearls.
natural, keshi and cultured akoya with neat banded nucleus (not visible in daylight)
2 first are nonnacrous pearls from trisidos semitorla and probable tridacna or hippopus even sold as something else.
the third has been sold to me as a natural basra or venezuela pearl.
The black area is probably conchitine from the shell, because bottom is flat with many visible circles.
Fourth, fifth and sixth have been sold to me as keshi.
no visible tissue in the fourth, only the kind of clearer spot, fifth has a clear area in the millde like a flake i think it's the remaining tissue.
the line on the sixth is probably also remaining tissue, it's a cortez sea pearl, only 4,5mm but very dark.
The last one is a easy to see nucleated akoya from my necklace.


My question is, am I right, is the clearer area the way to see when a pearl is a keshi?
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Sadly hoster reduces image size to about 740px wide and strongly decreasing quality.

Hum, for shooting, I tried with a thick board drilled using a pen and put on my phone.
I think the best would be a black thick plastic or strong material with hole, and extra black colored putty, for a bog good contrast, then, use a spotlight with variable power, use small power to display the pearl with best angle, then fix the putty to fill all the gap, no light on sides or so, and then full power for the picture, it would help to use a better setting on camera too, quicker shot, making better details.
The fimo paste is black and like putty, I remember I made a aquamarin with candle light back in 2011, using fimo, but the color is very strong and can nearly dye the pearl as it's a very bit porous, so I suggest not to use fimo.
Maybe something like play doh paste, not too sticky and not too fat, however no idea if available in black color.

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This is with the new display, I made a silicone cast shape, like a cone with a hole in the middle, black color, it holds the pearl with no gap all around, no glue, fat or sticky material, easy to put pearl and easy to remove and it stays safely on my phone
I made two different one with a 5mm or so hole and another with smaller hole.
here is a picture of a pearl, I cut a 740px sized picture so it is at 100% on the forum.
For larger picture it would require other optics or other camera (5DSR)
Here is my stuff for now.


I made 2 size for the silicone holders.
I think the best would be to machine a mold from a good material, perfect finish and shape, then cast it, and get a silicone casts.
For weird pearls like the ones on top or many on bottom, I think some paste or clay can help.
Then, maybe a strong led display with a diaphragm could be better, small amount of light for setting, and large for picturing, easiest way, even with second hand stuff.
That is a really cool set up, lp. I may need to try making one myself. I've never tried carving silicone, but I have dark green carvers wax on hand and may try to carve that into a stand.
A bit more than candled. This was done with my kind dentists xray (after some odd looks LOL). Can anyone tell if it's cultured or natural? I sure as heck cannot!

deco pearl strand xray.jpg
A bit more than candled. This was done with my kind dentists xray (after some odd looks LOL). Can anyone tell if it's cultured or natural? I sure as heck cannot!

View attachment 60414

Dentist X-ray units are not the same used by labs to the best of my knowledge, so unlikely to see the fine detail necessary in pearls. A couple look like they could be bead cultured pearls (pearls either side of center?) but there could easily be structure within the central areas of both pearls that would rule that opinion incorrect. The size of the drill holes are small (cultured often are larger as they don't care about loss of weight so much), the necklace seems knotted (perhaps more natural as valuable pearls = knotting) and the pearls are graduated so again perhaps more natural? Basically the pearls need proper testing in a lab to be certain. Any clues down the drill holes? If bead cultured should be able to see demarcations between beads and nacre as well as even white to cream colouration throughout the centre part rather than graduated colour usually seen in natural and beadless cultured pearls.
Over the decades I have done a simple variation of that in jewelry stores to verify for my conclusion to identify cultured (Akoya), which bythe way years ago had more nacre, from natural. Especially if they were in the same strand, usually 2-4mm as was often done with add a pearls by the jeweler not the dealer. At time we were asked to add to such a necklace and had to alert the jeweler and add the type the customer wanted.
Size of the drill holes is a 80-90% reliable source of information. I think a thin coating of nacre might show a uniform xray picture, because the nacre might only be 1/2 mm in radius. As was common before Chinese FW and the alure of money made some Japanese growers harvest while the stove was hot.