Re: [Ancientartifacts] Scarab problem

Good afternoon, Teresa/List
Test for salt (without tasting it, I mean  :-)   ) : take some of the powder. Dissolve in a little water. Add a drop of silver nitrate.
A cloud of white precipitate means chlorides, and probaly salt.
Srpay some powder over the flame in the kitchen. If flame turns yellow, then sodium and salt by sure.
Warning and disclaimer: all chemical reactives should be handled with care, wearing gloves, lenses and so. Should be discarded properly, also.
Silver nitrate is poisonous and also stains in black if it touches skin.
For white in carnelian: I personally think that is just weathering of the piece. It should not be romeved by a toothpick. Only way to remove is to polish it again to remove the "crust" that has been formed by weathering (agate is a microcristaline variety of quartz. It could have some water and loss of it turns it whitish. Absorption of grease from the human body could also dirtyens it......Or just time weathering....
Hope that serves  
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, June 09, 2008 6:18 PM
Subject: Re: [Ancientartifacts] Scarab problem

Thanks Jim and Kim,

I do not think my scarab problem is salt at least not on one of them.

On the carnelian scarab bronze ring --- the white shiny haze has become one with the carnelian. It does not powder off nor does it lightly scrape off with a dental pick. I have major doubts that water will do much. If water would have an affect, it would have to soak for a very long time.

The other scarab which I am sure is NOT steatite (and may be blue frit?) --- the white stuff does powder off with a dental pick. A friend suggested that I scrape some off and TASTE IT to see if it is salt. (Let me say, there is absolutely no way I would TASTE anything that had been on a scarab!) Anyway, I am in the process of researching for a test for salt. Does anyone know if frit can be damaged by soaking?

This scarab has some interesting glyphs but I don't want to ask the group their meaning until I am sure I have them correct -- for example I thought this scarab had a "Ra" - circle on it. Then after scraping it, I discovered that the circle was really a square.

I get so frustrated sometimes. Eventhough I have 8 + 2 = 10 books on scarabs (I just received the two F. S. Matouk books in the mail this week.); I still find reading the glyphs difficult.

Teresa Day-Smith

---------[ Received Mail Content ]----------

Subject : Re: [Ancientartifacts] Scarab problem

Date : Fri, 06 Jun 2008 17:06:37 -0400

From :

To :

Hi all,

Well, after rebuilding my system, I am back.? What a pain it is.?

To comment on Teresa's scarabs, if it is stone or faience, a good bath in DW should not be a problem.? For the one still on the encrusted ring, I agree that cares should be exercised but again, unless dirt is all that is holding it together, I cannot see the harm in a bath.? But of course, they are not mine.? :^)

I have soaked ushabtis and scarabs in the past without any difficulties though.

A;; the best,

"Ancient" Jim

Et Tu Antiquities

-----Original Message-----

From: Teresa Day-Smith



Sent: Fri, 6 Jun 2008 12:33 pm

Subject: [Ancientartifacts] Scarab problem


I have two scarabs that need cleaning (badly).

One is a carnelian scarab still on its bronze ring. It is really a nice piece but one can not see the true color of the carnelian. It has a whitish haze like hard water deposits but shinning. The carnelian scarab is frozen in place (will not move/spin) and I am fearful it would break from the ring if I did much to it.

The other is a very unique scarab (actually a scaraboid) with glyphs that I am still researching to discover their meaning (none of my eight books on scarabs has anything like them). It has a white powdery substance on it like plaster. I removed some of this substance around the holes with a dental pick but I am afraid to proceed any further. This scarab I know for sure is NOT steatite and I think it is probably faience - it has that medium solid blue color.

I remember a discussion in the group about putting faience shabties in distilled water but as I remember that was not to clean them but for salt problems?

Does anybody have any ideas?

Teresa Day-Smith


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