Slicing a pearl in half

Hello all, I lost the post in which someone was asking about cutting
a pearl in half for earrings. Didn’t see any responses to it either.
maybe my eyes and mind are being affected with all this Xmas order
overload! I have cut a number of pearls for this reason. Here is a
quick description of how I do it: Mark where you want to cut, usually
with a pencil. Cut some narrow masking tape strips and wrap around
pearl leaving your markings visible(a few millimeters)then wrap the
rest of pearl with more tape. This helps hold it in place in a pearl
holder(you can modify a clothespin) and secure pearl in that,
wrapping either more tape, wire or rubber bands to keep pearl from
slipping(very important!). I gingerly use a separating disc with a
low RPM to make initial cutting line, frequently dipping in water, I
then alternate cutting with disc and fine toothed small saw blade in
jeweler saw frame. A thin diamond impregnated disc is useful too.But
the are not as thin as separating disc, and only on large pearls.
Chinese freshwater pearls that are tissue nucleated are the easiest,
for they have no shell bead nucleus, which is harder than the pearl
nacre. Some pearl nucleus(bead from another mollusk) are not ‘fixed’
in the pearl, and will ‘roll’ as you cut them.This happens when
drilling pearls too. This can be a real problem, and the only way
I’ve gotten around it , is to cut all the way around the pearl to
the loose nucleus and the split the halves apart from nucleus. You
may want to try on a damaged pearl first. Keeping the pearl cool and
your fingers out of the way help! Good luck

Thomas Blair Designing Goldsmith JA* Certified Bench Jeweler Designing
Jeweler Island Gold Works Hilton Head S.C. 843-686-6001 843-686-6407

    ... A thin diamond impregnated disc is useful too.But the are
not as thin as separating disc... 

Try a dental supplier for this type of disk. Very thin, much thinner
than typical separating disks, sintered with diamond on both sides.
The very thin ones are very flexible however. Expect to pay $15-$30
USD for each disk, but with proper care, will last for years.

Another solution is to use a chipped or broken diamond to thin the
existing separating disks. I hold the diamond securely in a pair of
pliers or mount it in a bezel with the point sticking up. You now
spin the disk against the diamond and you can make it whatever
thickness you wish. It takes a little practice to keep the disk from
shattering and to get a consistent thickness but beats paying the
prices for those ultra thin separating disks. Frank Goss

I too wanted to set some half pearls in a bezel, but not knowing how
to slice the pearl decided to take a different approach. I got some
matching half pearls–the kind one would set on posts for earrings,
and instead of mounting them on a post, I bezel set them. I used a
dab of epoxy to hold the pearl in place so that it would not shift
around while I pushed the bezel in around it. With it firmly in
place I did not have to worry about its shifting and getting
marred by the bezel pusher or burnisher. Alma.