Natural pearls are some of the oldest gems collected by mankind. Natural pearls continue today to be desired objects at auction. SSEF has tested many of the world’s most iconic natural pearls in recent years. Our expertise in pearl testing rests on continuous research and expeditions to natural pearl sources and cultured pearl farms worldwide.

We test different types of pearls objects

  • Single or multiple loose pearls
  • Pearls mounted in jewellery
  • Pearl necklaces

We distinguish between natural and cultured pearls, freshwater or saltwater pearls, possible treatments on a pearl and whether a pearl has been worked or not. SSEF does not comment on the species from which a pearl may have come from. Since 2017, we offer radiocarbon age dating of pearls as a service to clients (click here for more information).

Explore our research library

Having attended the IGC conference in Tokyo in October 2023, Dr. Michael S. Krzemnicki and Dr. Laurent E. Cartier took some time to travel south to visit the cultured pearl trading hub of Kobe and pearl farmers in Mie prefecture.

Recently, the SSEF received a button-shaped pearl of 7.5 ct for testing. Based on X-ray radiography and a UV-Vis-NIR reflectance spectrum, the pearl was easily identified as a saltwater natural pearl from the species Pinctada margaritifera.

Recently, we received a round pearl for testing which exhibited an excellent surface quality and a remarkable size of 24 mm in diameter. Interestingly, its weight of 60 ct was rather low for such a pearl (resulting in a calculated specific gravity of approx. 1.61 instead of 2.715 considered standard

The SSEF is known worldwide as a leading authority in gem testing, and as such we have the great pleasure to scientifically analyse some of the most prestigious and important jewellery before it is offered up for auction or in private sales. Apart from testing the gem materials in such jewellery, we

Similar to gemstones which are re-polished over time and thus need an updated SSEF report, we also occasionally receive pearls a second or third time for a new report, for example when the pearl is set in a new jewellery design. This is specifically the case when a pearl is important and/or of histo

René Lalique (1860-1945) was one of the most ingenious and creative designers of jewellery and glass objects at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. He significantly contributed to the Art Nouveau and Art Déco periods.