Feature Gems & Gemology, Summer 2010, Volume 46, No. 2

X-ray Computed Microtomography: Distinguishing Natural Pearls from Beaded and Non-Beaded Cultured Pearls

The distinction of natural from cultured pearls traditionally has been based on X-radiography. X-ray computed microtomography (μ-CT) has recently been applied to gain more insight into pearl structures. Using this technique, this article presents features observed in a selection of natural pearls and beaded and non-beaded cultured pearls. Based on these observations, μ-CT is shown to be a powerful tool for pearl identification.