Coral reefs at risk, coral quality: Igi, the Italian Gemological Institute, has developed a scientific method for classification ♦ ︎
Diamonds have long been the lens: to ascertain their origin, as well as their quality, different methods have been introduced, starting from the Kimberley Process. But the need to know what is actually purchased, starting from the origin and characteristics, does not only concern diamonds. Coral, for example, is a “famous unknown” to most people who buy the precious fruit of the sea.
But in reality, it is possible to obtain a true coral identikit. And it will be the Igi, the Italian Gemological Institute, chaired by Raffaele Maino and directed by Loredana Prosperi, the first laboratory able to provide the certainty of the origin of the coral. Not only: the IGI also offers the possibility of certifying its origin through a sophisticated fingerprinting tool. In short, not just a visual expertise, but a scientific proof.
The goal was achieved in synergy with Cibjo, an organization that defines itself as the United Nations of the jewelery business, that is, the world confederation of jewelery, and the coral commission, chaired by Vincenzo Liverino. The scientific part was curated with the support of the University Federico II of Naples, an active part through its Department of Marine Biology, headed by Professor Anna Di Cosmo, by the same Igi and by the Danat, the Institute of Gems and pearls of Barhein (an authority on industrial standards), led by Ken Scarratt.
In addition to certifying the quality of the coral, the process will also serve to protect the raw material, which is a living organism and endangered risk species (such as coral reefs). The results already achieved include the adoption in 2015 of the Coral Blue Book, later completed in 2017 and the drafting of the Coral Guide for Customs manual – Classification & Identification of Coral Materials, designed to provide customs authorities and competent agencies with correct elements evaluation and classification of quality gem corals. In this way it is possible to identify in a certain way the origin of the material, decisive for intervening on the protection of species and protected areas, and to introduce,
Until now the identification was based on the physical properties of the material, morphological observation with the use of infrared and Raman spectroscopes. But in some cases this is not enough and more information is needed. Here comes the identification of the genetic code, present in all living organisms, the most reliable method for the determination of species, which now offers the possibility of certifying the coral species without a doubt, using appropriate markers.