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June HK Fair Special: Seminar on pearls with RFID tags

19 June 2013

A new technology that assigns a unique identification number to a pearl will be presented at a seminar scheduled tomorrow, June 21, in Room S224 from 11am to noon. David Wong, project director of Fukui Shell Nucleus Factory, will introduce the Fukui ID Nucleus, a type of pearl nucleus with an embedded RFID tag.

Pearl cultivators, wholesalers and pearl jewellery retailers can benefit from this new technology that combines traditional pearl nucleus manufacturing methods with modern identification systems, according to Wong. Benefits include improved inventory management, ability to trace the origin and cultivation of each pearl. The tag can also help evaluate each pearl beyond the five virtues of classification, certify each pearl or pearl jewellery with the unique identification number, and strengthen the pearl certificate’s authenticity.

Fukui collaborated with an Australian pearl farmer for this project which took more than 10 years from concept to completion. “There were multiple reasons that inspired and motivated us to develop this new technology. The reasons were mainly due to the increase in the overall cost, the need for environmental protection, the competition that leads to the overall lowering values of pearls, the over-production of pearls, the lack of persuasiveness in the pearl certification, and the education of pearls in the market sector,”Wong explained.

Businesses are affected by the lack of traceability in pearls, Wong said. “The inability to distinguish between variations of similar looking pearls creates a huge disadvantage to those who wish to brand their own pearls. Untrained sales representatives might think that the more expensive Akoya pearls are actually the cheaper freshwater pearls,” he said, noting that currently available methods to grade and certify the pearls are merely “based on presently available information or observable characteristics.”

The Fukui ID Nucleus can hopefully trigger a revolution that affects the pearl industry in a complete scale, Wong said. “The pearl nucleus production efficiency increases to approximately 10 percent. Each pearl nucleus and pearl may have an identification code of its own. Pearl farmers will know more about the nucleus that they are using. Businesses can manage better and brand their own pearls. Certification labs and agencies can offer more description about a pearl. The whole idea behind this research and development is a full scale protection, all the way from the environment, the pearl industry, and the people.”


David Wong, project director of Fukui Shell Nucleus Factory
Pearl scanner by Fukui Shell Nucleus Factory