Independent centre of excellence


AnchorCert’s expertise was put to the test recently when a batch of ‘freshwater cultured pearls’ arrived for verification.

Natural pearls are now extremely rare and freshwater cultured pearls have become a popular alternative. Freshwater cultured pearls are produced by inserting a tiny piece of tissue into the mantle of a living mollusc to stimulate the natural growth of a “cultured pearl” whereas imitation pearls are entirely artificial. There is obviously a huge difference in price and so correct identification is very important.

An initial visual inspection prompted AnchorCert gemmologists to suspect that most of the batch were imitation pearls.

In order to be absolutely certain AnchorCert undertook a rigorous series of tests, using several pieces of high tech equipment.

A selection was photographed by X-Ray and it could clearly be seen that some pearls, which all had a suspiciously uniform appearance, had a large bead under the outer-coating. Scraping revealed two coatings neither of which was a natural crystalline structure, confirming that this was not a freshwater cultured pearl. Further analysis using the Raman Spectrophotometer, X Ray Fluorescence and the electron spectrometer proved conclusively that most of the pearls were man-made imitations and only a very small percentage were “freshwater cultured pearls”.

AnchorCert Operations Director Carla Goodfellow said “This job once again demonstrated the importance of having all the right equipment. Our gemmologists’ experience and instinct led them to the right conclusion almost immediately but it was the sophisticated technology that provided the emphatic technical evidence that our customer was looking for.”

For more information on AnchorCert Pearl Identification reports Tel: 0871 423 7922 or email




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