Candled Natural Pearls

This other one is a white Mexican Black lip pearl -Pinctada mazatlanica- and the pearl had several "globular" pearly bodies that attached...it was probably several different pearls that ende up fusing together as the pearls grew. Natural Pinctada pearl backlight (3).jpg
 
I've updated the OP and here's a few more.
 

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And a few more
 

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And a few others.
 

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I have several natural pearls with me...keep them for a friend. I should candle them as well and see what comes out. Great work Dave!
 
I have several natural pearls with me...keep them for a friend. I should candle them as well and see what comes out. Great work Dave!
Thank you, Douglas.

Are your naturals P.sterna? I'd really like to see an array of views from those and other species. Same for Gulf pearls, if anyone is inclined to that. Surely someone somewhere has a lot suitable for the task.

If anything, this technique demonstrates dissimilar contrasts one might expect in a lot of natural pearls and provides a quick reference for outing elaborate fakes.
 
Thank you, Douglas.

Are your naturals P.sterna? I'd really like to see an array of views from those and other species. Same for Gulf pearls, if anyone is inclined to that. Surely someone somewhere has a lot suitable for the task.

If anything, this technique demonstrates dissimilar contrasts one might expect in a lot of natural pearls and provides a quick reference for outing elaborate fakes.
Mostly from local Pacific/Gulf of California species...some Abalone, conchs, clams, mussels and both Pteria sterna and Pinctada mazatlanica too!
 
I will get to work on those this weekend. Will do it for each species I have and share them here :)
It will be a treat for those interested in different species and their pearls.
 
I will get to work on those this weekend. Will do it for each species I have and share them here :)
It will be a treat for those interested in different species and their pearls.
...and it seems I never found the time to do it :cry:
 
...and it seems I never found the time to do it :cry:
I can't say I blame you, it's a tedious process. Even when already set up, it takes a long time. Especially while critical reporting where it's expected to return high resolution images on all three axis for a proper 3d rendering.

Despite the somewhat rudimentary station, it's turned out to be an economical method for critical analysis of nuclear materials. Moreover a reasonably objective method in the discernment between natural and cultured pearls. In single applications it's helpful when ruling out natural origin, thus skirting the higher cost of gem lab analysis. It's also a very effective tool in debunking elaborate fakes.

But in general, it's a terrific learning tool for anyone interested in understanding pearl structure.
 
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.


Can we get a photo of your set up?
 
I can't say I blame you, it's a tedious process. Even when already set up, it takes a long time. Especially while critical reporting where it's expected to return high resolution images on all three axis for a proper 3d rendering.

Despite the somewhat rudimentary station, it's turned out to be an economical method for critical analysis of nuclear materials. Moreover a reasonably objective method in the discernment between natural and cultured pearls. In single applications it's helpful when ruling out natural origin, thus skirting the higher cost of gem lab analysis. It's also a very effective tool in debunking elaborate fakes.

But in general, it's a terrific learning tool for anyone interested in understanding pearl structure.
I remember John Lennon's words in "Beautiful Boy": Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans...
So true.
And I have the pearls, I have the tools...what I don't seem to find is the energy to do it (alongside with a cat that seem to love my tools and pearls the moment I take them out).
Oh well. Hoping I will find the time, especially after the operation.
 
I guess I'll add to the thread resurrection too! Douglas recommended taking my wife's pearl ring to the dentist for a checkup but I remembered Dave's "alternative". I was sitting at my desk and remembered my 2-arm fiber optic projector so with some cardboard and my pocketknife here we are....
The dark mass suggests that Douglas is probably right about cultured but if you all could explain what process was used, I would appreciate it!
 

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Nice views massrog! They are very interesting. As a cursory glance, it seems apparent there is no visible geometry to suggest the presence of a shell bead nucleus.

That's a good step forward. This begs the question, is it natural or cultural? To be cultured, it would likely be freshwater, but it does have SS features.

I'm torn, mainly because I don't have the piece to to analyze myself and it's difficult to "mentally map" the sub-structures without reconstruction and critical overview of all 3 axis. It's a single piece, which adds a level of difficulty because I can't compare it to others of it's type like I could with a strand, for example.

However, I am leaning toward the prospect of sending this to the lab. It's reasonable to presume it may be natural. Xray views at optimal frequencies would undoubtedly reveal significant structural properties.

Well done and I'd certainly look at other candled images.
 
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I agree with @Lagoon Island Pearls on both accounts.
Great pics BTW!
The dark mass apparently has no symmetry, so it cannot be a shell bead, but I would recommend the x-ray to make sure.
The pearl looks like a South Sea or American salt-water pearl (from Pinctada mazatlanica), thus if it is a natural it could have a nice value.
 
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