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Miraculous Abalone or Paua Brooch

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    Posted 3 months ago

    (8 items)

    This is one I wish I hadn't sold. Even before I researched abalone nacre, which is a legitimate enigma that fascinates physicists, I was enchanted by the mercuric rainbows in these shells. My last photo is of the surface of ab nacre under an electron microscope. Look closely and you'll see it's made of precisely stacked tiles of a calcium carbonate called aragonite—a substance secreted by the slug—SLUG!—that lives inside this secret firmament. Those tiles are pentagonal, about 10 microns in diameter and .5 microns thick. Their growth is nurtured by by a gum of polysaccharides and protein called conchiolin, also secreted by the slug. It furthermore makes a growth-inhibiting hormone to keep the tiles right-sized. Then—magic. When light enters this nanocrystalline maze of tiles, it is messed with in ways physicists cannot describe with mathematics. They hate that, and study it endlessly. Get this: there is no pigment in aragonite. What you're seeing is purely a result of the nacre's intereference with light waves. Turn the shell one way and it is a wash of glowing purple; turn it again and the purple morphs to green; if you're lucky, there may even be a flash of gold.

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    1. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 months ago
      Fascinating in the micro-details of what makes abalone so beautiful! I’ve never seen the electron microscope view of it’s structure.
    2. FridaysJoy FridaysJoy, 3 months ago
      Dear Watchsearcher, fascinating indeed. I spent a full day researching this nacre, so wondrous is it, and went around in a fog of amazement for some while. That physicists cannot reproduce its effects in theior labs rather thrills me. God said to Job, "Go to the ant..." He may as well have said, "Go to the slug..."
      Please visit my website to read about another wonder—rock crystal. The beauty of old jewelry is that every piece has a story, every gem is miraculous. Did you know that the Fatimid Empire (303-909AD), who established Cairo as their capitol and made it a cultural hub, were unparallelled in their rock-crystal carving? There's a large and flawless pitcher in the Victoria and Albert Museum made by the Fatimids. It's clear as glass and—fathom this—2mm thick. The capper: NOBODY KNOWS HOW THEY DID IT.
    3. Newfld Newfld, 3 months ago
      Beautiful hues in this abalone/paua shell brooch, gorgeous photos
    4. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 months ago
      I’ll have to look that up ASAP- sounds fascinating!!
    5. rhineisfine rhineisfine, 3 months ago
      Thank you for sharing all that fascinating info about nacre, aragonite, the Fatimid Empire... all of it centered on this delightful brooch. It reminds me of the iridescence in hummingbird feathers, similarly dependent on light refraction. I never tire of looking at them! Just like your abalone/paua shell beauty.
    6. Ms.CrystalShip Ms.CrystalShip, 3 months ago
      Sad to say, Abalone is near extinction. Over harvested for the love of their shells.
      Magnificent creature….

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