Traceability of pearls from farm to consumer
This article reviews various methods that could be used to determine the geographic origin of cultured pearls, potentially allowing a consumer to trace them back to the farm. Chemical marking using different substances is possible due to the porosity of the nucleus and nacre. It is also possible to affix a logo marker to the nucleus that can later be imaged using X-radiography. In addition, radio-frequency identification chips are today so small that they can be housed within the nucleus of a cultured pearl.
Also discussed is the potential of using trace-element chemistry to differentiate mollusc species and pearling regions. Carbon and oxygen isotopes could also be useful given that they reflect the waters in which a cultured pearl grew, and DNA testing may offer options in the future.