Press Releases

50 years of SSEF: special symposium & gathering of key industry leaders in Basel

For 50 years, the Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF has been the forefront of scientific gemmological research and testing to support a thriving gemstone and jewellery trade. In tribute of both its mission and accomplishments, some 150 industry leaders and opinion-makers from around the world gathered in Basel on September 1 and 2 to celebrate the golden anniversary.

SSEF conducts analysis of cobalt-blue spinel from a newly reported source in Tanzania

For several months already a supply of blue cobalt-bearing spinel has been appearing in the gem trade, including some stones of remarkable size -up to 40 carats- and quality. According to information from reliable sources, the source of the new find is a deposit located about 20 kilometres south-east of Mahenge, Tanzania.

Scientists report breakthrough in precious coral traceability using novel genetic-testing method on samples seized by customs

Coral-ID is the first reliable and forensically validated method to scientifically identify corals using quasi non-destructive sampling, so that species protected by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) can be distinguished from their non-protected counterparts.

SSEF adds online courses in Japanese and traditional Chinese to its free-of-charge ‘Understanding Gemstones’ programme

The Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF has added courses in Japanese and traditional Chinese to its free-of-charge online educational programme, entitled “Understanding Gemstones.” The courses, which cover diamonds, emeralds, pearls, rubies and sapphires, are now available in five languages – English, French, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese and Japanese.

New emeralds from Musakashi in Zambia appear in the market

Advanced testing using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LAICPMS) on an anomalous stone from a batch of 10 emeralds submitted to the Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF has indicated that it is likely to have been sourced at Musakashi, in the Solwezi district of central Zambia. This suggests that production at that site has been increased. The other nine stones showed characteristics typical of production from the Kafubu area, where most of Zambia’s emeralds have been mined to date.

SSEF launches free online courses on major gems in English, French and simplified Chinese

SSEF has launched a series of free-of-charge, online courses, entitled “Understanding Gemstones.” With each covering a specific gem, the courses are comprehensive and self-paced by the student, who is able to start and complete them at any time via SSEF’s Internet-based learning platform.
The courses are available in English, French and simplified Chinese. The gems currently covered are diamonds, emeralds, pearls, rubies and sapphires.

SSEF introducing new service using DNA fingerprinting technology that finally enables identification of pearl species

SSEF is introducing a new service to support the documentation of the origin and provenance of pearls, in partnership with the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Zurich. It is made possible by a substantial expansion of the organisation’s DNA fingerprinting reference database and capabilities, which now include eight oyster species that produce the vast majority of pearls found in the natural and cultured pearl trade.

Breakthrough scientific study on precious coral identification leads to new DNA coral fingerprinting service by SSEF

A breakthrough study entitled “DNA fingerprinting: an effective tool for taxonomic identification of precious corals in jewelry”, authored by researchers from the Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF and the University of Zurich’s Institute of Forensic Medicine (IRM) and recently published in the leading peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports (Nature Group), has led to a new service being offered by SSEF to aid in the traceability of precious coral jewellery.

SSEF’s ASDI achieves 100% accuracy during testing by DPA’s ASSURE Program

The Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF’s Automated Spectral Diamond Inspection (ASDI) device was evaluated by Project ASSURE and displayed 100% accuracy on all tests administered. The system, which can inspect 6,500 small diamonds per hour, screens out synthetic diamonds and diamond simulants, .

SSEF introduces DNA species identification of ivory as client service

SSEF launches a services that provides a scientific method to identify the species of ivory being used in jewellery and ornamental objects, in order to determine whether it is CITES-listed elephant ivory or non-listed mammoth ivory.

SSEF Performs first-ever radiocarbon age-dating procedure on historic ‘Ana Maria Pearl’

SSEF has successfully age-dated the historic ‘Ana Maria Pearl’, to be sold as Lot 264 at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Sale in Geneva in May 2019.

SSEF launches GemTrack™

SSEF launches GemTrack™, a service linking cut stones to the rough stones from which they originated, using gemmological techniques.

Detecting low temperature heated rubies from Mozambique

SSEF has conducted an extensive research project to establish more specific criteria to detect low-temperature heat treatment, studying more than 200 unheated and heated rubies (rough and faceted stones) from Mozambique. In combination with close microscopic examination of the samples, specific infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) peak features were analysed in order to determine additional distinguishing criteria.

‘Kashmir-like’ sapphires from Madagascar

Many sapphires from a new source in Madagascar are accompanied by gemmological reports describing them as being of Kashmir origin. Having recently tested an important number of such ‘Kashmir-like’ sapphires submitted by clients and ranging in weight from 5 to 50 ct, we have to conclude that many of these gems of so-called Kashmir origin actually originated from the new deposit near Bemainty/Ambatondrazaka in Madagascar.

SSEF launches PearlScan

The Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF is introducing to the market a new system for scanning both single and multi-strand pearl necklaces. Called PearlScan, it is able to count large quantities of pearls on strands and measure their dimensions. Consisting of an A4 scanner, computer and proprietary software, the system offers the pearl industry a new and efficient way of documenting pearl necklaces.

Age dating of natural pearls as a client service

The Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF has become the first gem laboratory worldwide to introduce, as an additional service to clients, age dating of pearls using carbon-14 (14C). This scientific method can provide the pearl industry with new valuable information about the age of loose pearls and pearls in jewellery.

SSEF introduces GemTOF to gemstone testing

The Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF has become the first gem laboratory worldwide to introduce into its facility the ground-breaking GemTOF instrument, which conducts chemical analysis through laser ablation, thereby providing more information about the origin of a variety of gems, as well as precisely identifying almost all elements in coloured gemstones, diamonds and pearls.

New SSEF reports and platform for report verification and download

SSEF has revamped the design of their reports. Furthermore, owners of a SSEF report can now verify the authenticity of reports and also download PDF scans of their reports on the newly launched website. Reports issued after July 11th 2016 are available on this platform for download. Verification of older reports can also be carried out on this same website.

Pigeon Blood and Royal Blue

The Swiss-based Gübelin Gem Lab and Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF, recognised as the leading laboratories for coloured stone testing, have agreed to harmonise their standards for the colour terms “pigeon blood red” and “royal blue.” Their goal is to standardise the usage of these terms for the benefit of the international gemstone trade.

SSEF inaugurates new state-of-the-art laboratory in Basel

The Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF), one of the world’s most respected gem research, education and grading institutions, has inaugurated a state-of-the-art laboratory in Basel, more than doubling the size of its previous facility and enabling a massive expansion of the services it has provided the gemstone, jewellery and watch industries for more than 40 years.

SSEF introduces the Automated Spectral Diamond Inspection

The Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF has developed the Automated Spectral Diamond Inspection (ASDI) – a device which can analyse very large quantities of melee diamonds at low cost. The development of the instrument is all the more important following concerns expressed by members of the global diamond industry in the past year after undisclosed lab-grown diamonds were mixed in with parcels of natural diamonds.

SSEF – ETH Zurich breakthrough: DNA fingerprinting and age dating of pearls

For the first time, a group of SSEF – ETH Zurich researchers has succeeded in isolating DNA from pearls and used their genetic material to identify the specific species of oyster that produced the pearl. In a parallel project, researchers used radiocarbon dating to analyze the age of pearls, opening up new avenues for determining the origin and age of pearl jewellery.

New SSEF- Gem-A collaboration

The Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) has enlisted the help and support of the Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF) to contribute toward a new look Journal of Gemmology in 2014. Gem-A also appointed editor, geologist and gemologist Brendan Laurs as its new editor-in-chief of The Journal of Gemmology. The move signals greater editorial cooperation across the U.K., U.S. and Europe in the publication of the most-circulated academic journal on gemology.

Trade alert: “Keshi” cultured pearls on the market

“Keshi” cultured pearls are entering the natural pearl trade – and its addendum – “new” beaded cultured pearls.