CIBJO Releases Pearl Commission Special Report

Milan: With three weeks to go to the opening of the 2016 CIBJO Congress in Yerevan, Armenia, on October 26, 2016, the seventh of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Pearl Commission, headed by Kenneth Scarratt, the report details improvements to the Pearl Blue Book of accepted standards, practices and nomenclature; the development of the CIBJO Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls; technological advances in pearl identification; responsible environmental practices; and a new law in Japan that is designed to bolster the country’s pearl sector.

In an industry that has long struggled with a range of different and sometimes confusing grading systems, the CIBJO Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls represents an effort to place descriptions of all types of natural and cultured pearls in a single document, providing information on how to assess such things as lustre, colour, surface appearance, shape and size. An advanced draft of the guide will be presented during the congress in Yerevan in October.

The report reviews two recent technological developments that will assist in the identification of pearls, including powerful 3-D software that has been developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which is able to ascertain the exact cause of a natural pearl’s formation, and the neutron imaging of pearls, which is being experimented with by the Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF.

“With the growing sophistication being employed by some to create ‘pearls’ that challenge the various identification techniques used in gem laboratories, it is always good to read reports about the increasing sophistication of the identification techniques themselves,” wrote Mr. Scarratt.