# Synthetic Nacre Possible In Home Workshop/lab?

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### #1 SaxonViolence

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 11:15 PM

Friends,

I was thrilled when I first read about the Chinese having succeeded in synthesizing Nacre.

I love mother of pearl but large pieces have gotten very hard to find and very expensive. There is one company [Eagle] who seem to have cornered the market on shells large enough for pistol grips—and you will probably pay more for the grips than you paid for the pistol.

Another thing—if one could get slabs of Nacre it would allow some beautiful small carvings and sculptures.

Sadly this doesn't seem to be progressing very fast.

In rough outline the process seems to embed small hexagonal slabs of aragonite (a form of calcium carbonate) in an elastic biopolymer mostly like chitin but with some silk-like characteristics.

I was fascinated by the possibility of experimenting with different minerals instead of calcium carbonate.

The best that I can tell the process involves fairly high heat, a peristaltic pump and God knows what else.

I can't seem to find a complete nuts and bolts article telling exactly how the process works.

This is beyond my skill set at the moment—and I certainly don't expect anyone to do my research for me. I would like to know if this is doable or if it takes too much equipment and expertise...

And could someone point me at the texts that I'd need to understand in order to mess with this...

I mean that kid in Australia came up with a whole new way to create diamonds in his garage workshop.

Thanks.

Saxon Violence

Edited by SaxonViolence, 11 May 2017 - 11:22 PM.

### #2 exchemist

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 09:18 AM

Friends,

I was thrilled when I first read about the Chinese having succeeded in synthesizing Nacre.

I love mother of pearl but large pieces have gotten very hard to find and very expensive. There is one company [Eagle] who seem to have cornered the market on shells large enough for pistol grips—and you will probably pay more for the grips than you paid for the pistol.

Another thing—if one could get slabs of Nacre it would allow some beautiful small carvings and sculptures.

Sadly this doesn't seem to be progressing very fast.

In rough outline the process seems to embed small hexagonal slabs of aragonite (a form of calcium carbonate) in an elastic biopolymer mostly like chitin but with some silk-like characteristics.

I was fascinated by the possibility of experimenting with different minerals instead of calcium carbonate.

The best that I can tell the process involves fairly high heat, a peristaltic pump and God knows what else.

I can't seem to find a complete nuts and bolts article telling exactly how the process works.

This is beyond my skill set at the moment—and I certainly don't expect anyone to do my research for me. I would like to know if this is doable or if it takes too much equipment and expertise...

And could someone point me at the texts that I'd need to understand in order to mess with this...

I mean that kid in Australia came up with a whole new way to create diamonds in his garage workshop.

Thanks.

Saxon Violence

I don't see an easy way to do this. Obtaining platelets of aragonite 0.5 microns thick will be a challenge and laying them down in flat layers in a  polymer matrix will not be simple either.

I've never heard of anyone making diamonds in their garage either. Do you have a source for this story?

### #3 SaxonViolence

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 11:16 AM

Friend,

When I know that I've read something many years ago and can't find hide nor hair of it online it is highly frustrating.

I read about the Australian kid 30 or 40 years ago. He used the Chemical Vapor Deposition method and used an old Scuba Tank for his chamber—but he isn't listed as the inventor of CVD so he must have simply came up with an improved method.

So far as Making Synthetic Diamonds, I picked up a delightful hardback book about 20 years ago. I still have it but I'd really have to dig to find it. I'm not sure the exact title but the phrase "The New Alchemists" is in there somewhere. When I try to Google it I get 50-million new age books of nonsense.

Anyway, the book said that it once required huge machinery to synthesize diamonds but "today" (20-years ago) anyone with a large basement and $50 000 to invest could make diamonds. That may be an exaggeration and even if doable it probably isn't economically viable. However there was a spate of small gem quality diamond synthesizing enterprises that sprang up in Russia a few years after the break-up of the Soviet Union. There gadgets were round 8-12 feet in diameter and 4 or 5 feet tall. I say them on one of the educational channels some years back. Sorry. If any new ways to phrase my search terms occurs to me I will look some more. Saxon Violence ### #4 exchemist exchemist Creating • Members • 2914 posts Posted 17 May 2017 - 01:08 AM Friend, Thanks for your reply. When I know that I've read something many years ago and can't find hide nor hair of it online it is highly frustrating. I read about the Australian kid 30 or 40 years ago. He used the Chemical Vapor Deposition method and used an old Scuba Tank for his chamber—but he isn't listed as the inventor of CVD so he must have simply came up with an improved method. So far as Making Synthetic Diamonds, I picked up a delightful hardback book about 20 years ago. I still have it but I'd really have to dig to find it. I'm not sure the exact title but the phrase "The New Alchemists" is in there somewhere. When I try to Google it I get 50-million new age books of nonsense. Anyway, the book said that it once required huge machinery to synthesize diamonds but "today" (20-years ago) anyone with a large basement and$50 000 to invest could make diamonds. That may be an exaggeration and even if doable it probably isn't economically viable.

However there was a spate of small gem quality diamond synthesizing enterprises that sprang up in Russia a few years after the break-up of the Soviet Union. There gadgets were round 8-12 feet in diameter and 4 or 5 feet tall. I say them on one of the educational channels some years back.

Sorry. If any new ways to phrase my search terms occurs to me I will look some more.

Saxon Violence

OK if you find anything I'd be interested, as I thought it was still a very difficult process.

### #5 OceanBreeze

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 02:53 AM

OK if you find anything I'd be interested, as I thought it was still a very difficult process.

I vaguely remembered reading about making diamonds with a blow torch, as ridiculous as that sounds, but found this.

Doubtful such a process would be economically viable; more of an interesting science project.