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How technology can determine the story behind your pearls

16 May 2014 Last updated at 00:44 BST

With the overproduction of cultured pearls in recent years, natural pearls are becoming more of a rarity.

So who decides if a pearl developed in a shell or if a human had a hand in its creation?

And how easy is it to distinguish?

Laurent Cartier, project manager at the Swiss Gemological institute in Basel (SSEF), describes how technology is getting more sophisticated so as to untangle the differences between the two.

Camera/editing: Richard Duebel. Producer: Sylvia Smith.