The body colour of pearls is normally related to the presence of natural colour pigments produced by the mollusc during pearl formation. Another option is to colour pearls artificially, with dyeing being the most readily available method. Often applied to rather low-quality freshwater cultured pearls, these tre
Pearl testing was long limited to determining whether a pearl is natural or cultured, and whether a pearl has been treated or not. As we have considerably invested in pearl research in recent years, we have achieved significant breakthroughs, namely DNA fingerprinting for species identification and radiocarbon
We recently tested a pearl jewellery set that consisted of 63 natural pearls, with 61 of them being strung on a thread and two additional loose natural pearls. To our knowledge, this is the first time that pearls from Pinctada persica have been reported.
SSEF pioneered DNA fingerprinting of pearls in 2013, in collaboration with scientists from ETH Zürich. This was the first published report of oyster DNA extraction from a pearl, allowing us to trace and fingerprint pearls of unknown origin and match them to the specific oyster species in which they formed.
As a leading pearl testing laboratory worldwide, the SSEF has analysed in the past few months a large number of pearls for our clients. Besides natural pearls of impressive size or historic provenance (e.g. the pearl pendant of Marie Antoinette and the so called Dodge pearls), we regularly identify and sort out