Ultrasonic drilling of Pearls

How a colorful pearl necklace is created with the help of Ultrasonic drilling.

Jewelry of the gods.

The following is a pearl necklace created using the ancient technology of ultrasonics. (high vibration)

What is a freshwater cultured pearl and how is it colored?

Both saltwater (ocean cultivated) and freshwater (river or lake cultivated) Pearls are made up of 3 main mineral layers secreted from an Oyster. The 2 minerals Calcite and Aragonite make up the layers of the pearl and are cemented together with the 3rd mineral Conchiolin.  The mineral layers of a pearl resemble the layers of an onion. These mineral layers are called nacre.

The shape of the pearl is dictated by the shape of the shell nucleus implant. A round shell nucleus implanted in an Oyster will grow a round pearl. A shell carved in the shape of a cross and implanted into the Oyster will grow a cross shape pearl. The oyster secretes layer after layer (nacre) upon the cross-shape shell nucleus.

Freshwater (unsalted) pearls grow in nature with only a white body color and more rarely a light colored pastel (peach/pinks) as shown below.

In order to get brighter color than pastels in a pearl we must dye the porous white Nacre.

All black freshwater cultured pearls are dyed black (started off as white). Because Nature does not create bright colors in Pearl, they need to be dyed with bright colored pigments in order to be worthy of a “Jewelry of the gods” creation.

Store bought dyes can work with pearls but deep bright colors need hot temperatures.

Once the white pearls are dyed with bright colors, they need to be center drilled with a large hole.  (later, a faceted bead will be strung inside the colorful pearl’s hole)

An example below shows how our diamond cutting tools today do not easily work when drilling soft and delicate pearls.

Jewelers using spinning diamond drills can skip, overheat, and damage the pearl.

Ultrasonic technology allows for clean and fast drilling with no dangerous spinning abrasives. A hole can be made anywhere in the pearl, including close to the side of the pearl with no damage.

Spacer beads are needed to fill in the ultrasonic drill holes.

I use a natural iron mineral called Pyrite.

Pyrite nuggets (below left) are faceted into beads.

After the Pyrite is faceted into a bead, it is then plated with a high karat gold (electroplated) for optimal gold reflection off facet junctions (above right).

I created specific techniques in order to easily string the faceted pyrite beads within the colored pearl bead holes.

The faceted and gold-plated Pyrite beads spin freely within the colored pearls.

The bright colors and spinning pyrite reflections allow a visual statement from 10 feet away.

All findings are gold filled or gold plated.


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