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Calcite on surface of Phra Somdej...Authenticity Identification by Natural Approach

Calcite on surface of Phra Somdej...Authenticity Identification by Natural Approach

Shell Lime : Main Ingredient of Phra Somdej Wat Rakhang

As many of you known that Phra Somdej Wat Rakhang were created from shells lime, 5 holy powders, other sacred materials and cement agents (such tung oil, honey). Main ingredient was shells lime. The step to make shells lime by

1. Clean shell and expose it until completely dry.

2. Burnt shell in charcoal stove about 3 hours.

3. Grind  and become shell lime in fine white powder 



"Phra Somdej is still alive" You may hear this statement and why people stated that? Have you ever wondered? This is because calcite occurance on surface of Phra Somdej is able to grow up and repair itself after chipped. What is calcite?? How is calcite involved in Phra Somdej??, we can explain in the scientific process of shells lime which was the main ingredient to creat Phra Somdej by :

Starting from shell lime would drive off "milk of lime" or Calcium Hydroxcide (CaOH2) => reaction between Calcium Hydroxide (CaOH2) + Carbondioxide (CO2) in the air = Calcium Carbonate (CaCo3) + Water (H2O). The crystals of Calcium Carbonate (CaCo3) is Calcite which is common to find calcite in the shells of certain marine animals. Calcite texture can be developed to the larger scale by aging process. (same concept with stalagmite/stalactite in cave)

FACT: A distinctive characteristic of calcite is that it bubbles when you place a drop of weak acid such vinegar due to releasing of carbon dioxide gas. The different reaction in bubble vigor are result of type, amount and the particle size of calcite or other carbonates including the temperature of the acid.

WARNING: However, we would not recommend to test calcite on Phra Somdej by dropping vinegar on surface and watch how bubble form is since this testing method is not able to identify real or fake or specify age of Phra Somdej by considering only bubble or fizzy as judgement indicator. Not only that bubbles / fizzes in weak acid is calcite but also other carbonates which show this similar reaction e.g. plaster, limestone, chalk, cement, gypsum, carbonate minerals.The acid test on Phra Somdej can sort out only fake amulets made of plastic and resin due to these materials do not show any reaction with weak acid so, no bubbling / fizzy response but acid test could not prove 100% accuracy authentication for any amulets made of lime family.

Please be careful trick from amulet sellers by showing acid test to prove the authenticity which oftenly use with inexperienced buyers. Actually, there are various factors to consider and classify real or fake which the veteran collectors are neccessary to study and analyse with thoroughly understanding.


For the chipping area of Phra Somdej which just occurred or recently chipped, white compound and other materials inside were seen with sharp edges.

For the chipping area of Phra Somdej for a long time, it would be covered by milk of lime on surface to fix by itself.

Here are example for comparing chipping traces in different occurance time in below pictures

New Chipping trace in Phra Somdej Wat Rakhang which will see sharp edges white compound inside.

Half - New chipping trace in Phra Somdej which is being proceeded to develop texture for fixing by itself.

Half - New chipping trace in Phra Somdej Wat Rakhang which chipped area would be smoother.

Old chipping trace in Phra Somdej Wat Rakhang which will see development of texture to fix itself by aging process.


Below pictures are example of calcite feature on surface of Phra Somdej Wat Rakang. Calcite is seen clearer if looking through microscope. Notification of visible calcite occurance is white clear spot on surface, glassy, shiny and being grown up. Special feature of calcite is refraction of light, this causes the light to produce spectrum color stripe on it (rainbow sparkling)

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