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SSEF Launches Service Identifying Pearl Species

DNA fingerprinting enables Swiss lab to determine the oyster type in which a given specimen formed.
Jun 3, 2020 10:24 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... The Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF) has introduced a service that determines a pearl’s species using DNA fingerprinting.

The Basel-based laboratory has substantially expanded its database and capabilities, enabling it to identify each of the eight oyster species that account for the vast majority of gems available in the natural- and cultured-pearl trade, it said Tuesday. It achieved this through a partnership with the University of Zurich’s Institute of Forensic Medicine.

SSEF first developed DNA fingerprinting of pearls via a collaboration with Swiss university ETH Zurich, publishing the findings in an academic paper in 2013. Since then, improvements to the method have made it possible to take only a tiny amount of material from a pearl for testing to work.

“DNA fingerprinting will contribute to further documenting the origin and geographic provenance of historic natural pearls and traceability efforts in the cultured-pearl trade,” said SSEF director Michael Krzemnicki.

Image: The La Peregrina pearl. (SSEF)
Tags: basel, cultured pearls, DNA fingerprinting, ETH Zurich, fingerprinting, Institute of Forensic Medicine, Michael Krzemnicki, natural pearls, oysters, pearls, Rapaport News, SSEF, Swiss Gemmological Institute, University of Zurich
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