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Most recently, we received a pearl necklace with 410 pearls strung on three regularly graduated strands. The pearls were characterized by a beautifully matching colour and a fine pearl lustre, reminiscent of ‘classic’ natural pearls from the Arabian Gulf. However, a closer look using X-ray...

As with any gemstone with fissures, it is of no surprise that some Brazilian Paraiba Tourmaline is filled with a colourless foreign substance (mostly artificial resin) to modify and enhance its transparency and thus apparent beauty. ...

Fake pearls are beads (of whatever shape) which have been cut entirely from shell material. A perfect source for the production of such fake pearls is the Tridacna clam, amongst the largest living bivalve mollusc with a massive and thick shell of up to...

Since two years, the SSEF has been working with the Laboratory for Neutron Scattering and Imaging at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) using their ICON beamline (cold neutron imaging) at the SINQ spallation source. The aim of these research projects in collaboration with Dr. Lehmann...

The daily routine at SSEF usually consists of testing rubies, sapphires, emeralds, pearls and diamonds. Although sometimes challenging and interesting, especially taking into account the quality and the documented historical provenance of some of these gems and jewellery items, it is also always of great...