The selection process for Masato Pearls products begins in Ima-city of the Mie prefecture, Japan. This is applicable not only for Masato Pearls' akoya white pearl products which are cultured, strung and matched by hand locally, but for Masato Pearls Tahitian (black pearls) and South Sea pearl products (gold pearls) cultured in their respective regions of the Pacific.
All products undergo evaluation in Ima-city based on luster, surface quality, natural coloring, shape, degree of reflections, and approximated nacre thickness. Nacre thickness is approximated via human eye by trained Masato Pearls professionals, all possessing 30+ years of cultured pearl industry experience.
Nacre thickness is approximated in accordance to the superficial characteristics exhibited by the pearl to be 0.4-mm or above – no empirical figures recorded at this stage. Upon the completion of initial evaluation, all units are submitted to JGGC for further inspection.
At the JGGC, all our products undergo redundancy testing – microscopic testing to verify that the nacreous layers are indeed real; other pearl testing companies only verify shape, surface quality and body color. The JGGC runs the following tests on all Masato Pearls products: microscopic testing, optical transmission testing, spectral reflectance testing and fluorescent penetrant inspection. The JGGC also provides Masato Pearls exact figures for nacre-thickness using an ultrasonic thickness gauge.
Ultrasonic pearl nacre thickness measuring device
The ultrasonic measuring device used to measure pearl nacre thickness emits ultrasonic waves directed at the pearl while receiving reverberations that occur at the border line area between the pearl nucleus and superficial nacreous layers. These reverberations are turned into electronic signals; the difference of timing of reverberations occurring at the superficial nacreous layers and the borderline area of the pearl nucleus determines a pearl's nacre thickness.
JGGC prefers to call the device an “ultrasonic pearl nacre thickness measuring device.” It’s indeed an ultrasonic thickness gage calibrated electronically for measuring pearl nacre thickness. Ultrasonic thickness gages are used as a noninvasive means to check pipes for corrosion or coating thickness.
Depending on the level of sophistication, these devices can detect thickness disparities as miniscule as 0.001-mm. All thickness gages are equipped with a probe responsible for emitting and receiving data for the device.
The JGGC has created a plastic apparatus to hold the probe stationary and pearls are run through the apparatus. The data collected from the pearls being measured is then calculated.
Masato Pearls also requests the JGGC test all units for the presence of any color treatments – including pinking. The presence of color treatments is determined via spectra analysis and fluorescent testing. During these tests, units are exposed to various types of fluorescent light, through which JGGC is able to determine the presence of chemicals used in color treatments.
Once the JGGC verifies the pearls submitted for testing meet our criteria, they create a certificate stating the pearls are of the highest quality. The information is then given an identifying number and entered into a database. The information on each purchase is stored so Masato Pearls can provide you with additional jewelry that’s an exact match in color to your purchased item. Only Masato Pearls offers this level of quality and service.
Upon delivery to the U.S., all units are inspected once more for quality standards and structural defects. Should any units fail to uphold any of the specifications listed above, that unit will be returned to Masato Pearls professionals in Ima-city for reconstruction and then submitted to the above process for re-evaluation.
Empirical information is gathered and recorded for each unit respectively by the JGGC and reported to Masato Pearls. Masato Pearls stores all product information for each unit as well as average figures for each order in-house. These figures – respective and averaged – are provided to customers with each order.