Jewellery Technology & Machinery - JTM
SSEF Performs First-Ever Radiocarbon Age-Dating Procedure on Historic 'Ana Maria Pearl,' to be sold as Lot 264 at Christie's
Magnificent Jewels Sale in Geneva in May

The Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF has successfully age-dated the historic 'Ana Maria Pearl' using carbon-14 (14C). This is the first time such a procedure has been conducted on a historic natural pearl, to provide valuable and new information on the age of a gem.

The Ana Maria pearl is due to be offered at Christie's Geneva as lot 264 in the upcoming Magnificent Jewels auction on May 15, and will be on public display as of May 10 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues.

The data from this first-ever radiocarbon analysis revealed that the historic formation age for this natural pearl was between the 16th and mid-17th century AD. This fits perfectly with the documented historic provenance of the 'Ana Maria Pearl', once owned by Ana MarĂ­a de Sevilla y Villanueva, XIV Marquise of Camarasa (1828-1861), which is presumed to have been discovered during the Spanish conquest of the Americas in the 16th century.

The pearl is a slightly baroque drop shaped natural saltwater pearl of 30.24 carats, set as a detachable drop of a beautiful brooch, which contains an invisible watch by Audemars Piguet, a design from the 1960s (estimate: CHF800,000-1,200,000).

Dr. Michael S. Krzemnicki, director of SSEF, said: "We are honoured to be able to provide additional scientific evidence to the historic provenance of this important natural pearl. We are in the process of further developing radiocarbon analysis and other scientific techniques to verify the historic provenance of antique jewellery and iconic natural pearls".

"This is a first for a historic natural pearl offered at auction", added Jean-Marc Lunel, senior jewellery expert at Christie's Geneva. "The scientific innovation provided through radiocarbon age-dating is a critical addition to the extensive work we do on documenting the provenance of exceptional items such as the Ana Maria Pearl".

The 14C research and services offered by SSEF are done in partnership with the Ion Beam Physics Laboratory at ETH Zurich, one of the world's leading universities.

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