Cave pearls by John Spies

Cave pearls, or oolites, grow in shallow pools like pearls in an oyster. Successive thin layers of calcite coat tiny seed grains. This collection is 5 kilometres inside a cave in Pang Mapha district of Mae Hong Son province, Thailand. Inside the cave, these rare wonders of nature are priceless, but if they are stolen by insensitive or greedy humans, they become worthless balls of stone. These oolites are particularly well formed and precious. Taken on kodachrome slide film, Nikon FM2, nikkor 55mm lens, tripod and flashes.

I am an Australian expat living in the hills of Mae Hong Son province Thailand (please visit I photograph almost everything, above and below ground.

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  • Stephen Thomas
    Stephen Thomasalmost 6 years ago

    Great photo of interest! I never heard of this cave pearl before!

  • Thanks for your comment Stephen. Most non-cavers have never heard of them, and many cavers have never seen them. I think some of the pearls could be the most spherical inaminate natural objects.

    – John Spies

  • Caroline Fournier
    Caroline Fournieralmost 6 years ago

    Fascinating … I had never heard of these before.

  • Thanks Caroline, cavers who find collections like this often keep the location secret. You might have noticed that I didn’t name the cave…

    – John Spies

  • Lass With a Camera
    Lass With a Ca...almost 6 years ago

    Absolutely stunning shot! 5kms… crikey I will have to stop the Chang and up the treadmill!! arghghghhg!

  • Last time I visited this lot they were encased in a new layer of flowstone, but there are others, even more stunning, and I know you can make…

    – John Spies

  • CynLynn
    CynLynnalmost 6 years ago

    wow this is so cool, I learned something new today! Wonderful job showing all the beauty here!

  • I think I could pass this comment back to you, those early morel mushrooms are something else. Thanks Cyn, will look through your work real soon.

    – John Spies

  • John Spies
    John Spiesalmost 6 years ago

    Thank you Khosie for being so nice and purchasing a card of the pearls…

  • Starz
    Starzalmost 6 years ago

    oh how wonderful !! i have never seen or heard of these before
    beautiful foto, i like this, they are so pretty

  • Thanks Karon, they are special wonders of nature, innanimate things that can grow!

    – John Spies

  • LudaNayvelt
    LudaNayveltalmost 6 years ago

    coop shot

  • Thanks Luda for commenting

    – John Spies

  • Martina Cross
    Martina Crossalmost 6 years ago

    Fantastic, I have never seen anything like it!

  • Not many people have, thanks Ma

    – John Spies

  • Margaret Harris
    Margaret Harrisalmost 6 years ago
    This is something new to kil. inside a cave…your brave! Very interesting..Have you done any work for N.G.
  • No, but I have written many articles, with pics, for various magazines, such as Geo Australia, Action Asia, Sawasdee.

    – John Spies

  • stephaniek
    stephaniekalmost 6 years ago

    Great photo….I was just reading about these last night because we’re going to the Crystal Caves in Sequoia. So interesting!

  • You are the first to have heard of them here. Have fun caving…

    – John Spies

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