Research Vision

Our dedication to scientific research is an important foundation to our expertise and reliability in gemstone testing and certification. We have contributed to a number of important developments in gemmology since 1972. We remain committed to pursuing research projects in collaboration with universities, laboratories and companies to advance gemmological knowledge. Research findings enrich the gemmological courses we offer and have largely contributed to our expertise as one of the leading gemmological laboratories in the world.

Current and ongoing research programs carried out at the Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF are:


– Analytical instrumentation for synthetic diamond and diamond treatment detection

– Developing technology for assisted diamond grading

Origin determination of gemstones

– Origin determination of ruby, sapphire and other gemstones using GemTOF

– Research on spinel from worldwide occurrences

– Paraiba tourmalines

– Detection of heat treatment in corundum using zircon inclusions and Raman microprobe.


– Developing new methods (e.g. tomography) to separate natural from cultured pearls.

– Age dating and DNA fingerprinting of pearls

– Colour authenticity of pearls.

Our emphasis on research is not only to publish in reputed international scientific journals but also to share findings with members of the trade and consumers in the form of popular publications and presentations.

GemTOF: Innovating gemstone testing

  • 2017
    SSEF becomes first gem lab in the world to introduce radiocarbon age dating of pearls as a service to clients.
  • 2016
    SSEF develops and installs a 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 precisely identifying a range of other elements in coloured gemstones, diamonds and pearls.
  • 2014
    SSEF unveils the ASDI instrument (Automated Spectral Diamond Inspection), the first industrial scale automated solution for keeping synthetic diamond melee out of the supply chain.
  • 2013
    SSEF announces a breakthrough in succesfully extracting DNA from pearls and thereby enabling DNA fingerprinting of pearls.Submit pearl for testing
  • 2009
    We develop micro X-ray computerised tomography as a method for separating natural and cultured pearls. We were the first gemmological laboratory in the world to offer this as a customer service.
  • 2004
    SSEF develops the LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) method for Be-treatment detection of sapphires and is the first laboratory to offer this reliable identification service to clients.
  • 2003
    A blue-diamond tester, helping to identify type IIb diamonds, is developed and brought to the market.
  • 2001
    SSEF achieves a breakthrough by coming up with a method for identifying HPHT treatment of diamonds.
  • 2000
    The SSEF spotter is developed and brought to the market as a simple means of identifying type II diamonds.
  • 1999
    SSEF published an article on identification of artificial resins in emeralds.
  • 1998
    We described and identified flux assisted healing of fissures during the heating process of rubies.
  • 1994
    Publication of first article on identifying Douros synthetic rubies. 
  • 1990
    Significant contribution to scientific characterisation of Kashmir sapphire.
  • 1988
    George Bosshart, formerly of SSEF, was the first gemmologist to ever record low-temperature UV-Vis and IR spectra of the famous ‘Dresden Green’ diamond.
  • 1980
    SSEF has been the custodian of the original CIBJO Diamond Master Set C1 since 1980. We have been setting standards in diamond research and certification since.