first published in Facette 21 (February 2014) In 2013, SSEF received a lot of beautiful small so-called Pipi- pearls from the Pacific. These natural pearls are generally rather small, up to about 8 mm in diameter. This is not astonishing as they are formed within the rather small shell of the Pinctada macu

by SSEF, first published in Facette 20 (January 2013) In 2012, we again received a number of pearls with strange shapes for testing. The most extravagant and intriguing of these curiosities of nature was a non-nacreous brownish natural pearl from a marine mollusc, which closely resembled a mushroom (see ph

by Dr. F. Herzog & M.S. Krzemnicki, first published in Facette 20 (January 2013) For the last few years SSEF has seen increased demand for analysis of pearls. This is not astonishing. On the one hand, the supply of natural pearls that grow or were grown without any human intervention is limited. On the oth

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 and Dr. Mannes is to analyse

by Dr. Laurent E. Cartier, first published in Facette 21 (February 2014) We were presented with samples of a new type of pearl product from French Polynesia by a pearl trader during the 2012 BaselWorld show. These cultured pearls had unusual shapes, came in large sizes (up to 23 mm) and were characterised by

by SSEF, first published in Facette 20 (January 2013) Although pearls, as organic gems, are commonly less stable than polished gemstones, we don’t often see pearls with obvious features of surface damage as a result of unfortunate care. A few months ago, however, we received for testing a very spectacular ca