Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Etching mother of pearl, part 2

This is a continuation of yesterday's post about etching MOP with vinegar. This was the last pendant I put in the vinegar bath yesterday, but as I wanted a deeper etch than on the other white pieces, I left it in for almost 24 hours.

Like with my previous attempts to use bleached, white shell, I found it didn't have enough contrast. It's much better than lily-of-the-valley tile and I don't have any obscuring shimmer from the etched areas, but the stiations do make it difficult to see the motif -- unless you hold it in the right angle.

Then I happened to hold the heart up against the light and I saw that the etch was deep enough to create a shadow effect. While the banding still slightly annoying, you can see the floral pattern. Without having to tilt and turn the pendant (as long as it's backlit). So it could be used for, say, an earring. Or some sort of home décor where it'll be illuminated by sunlight in a window or a candle/tea light for example.

I'm now going to see if etching MOP any longer will give better results or not. Looking at this pendant, I'm slightly worried the etch will "eat through" any narrow parts of the motifs. See the stem and how it's just a thin line between the two leaves. (As for the third flower on the right, that's my mistake: I was checking the pendant yesterday and peeled away the sticker in that spot just to see how the ecthing was going and when I put it back, apparantly it didn't adhere as well as berfore and vinegar could seep in under it. So 24 hours be be a more ideal time. I'll know on Friday.


  1. Looks like a fun experiment! One past feature designer I wrote about carved pearls to reveal diamonds inside. Pearl

  2. Yes, it was a lot of fun -- and such an easy experiment at that. If one has some shell/MOP to sacrifice and a bottle of vinegar at home, it's worth a try.

    Carving sounds interesting too, I really admire those who are good at that. They can make the most amazing things!


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