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arts & jewellery

There is a close link between Art, Jewellery, and Sciences

Art and Jewellery, both have been, for several years, closely linked by a need for expertise and characterization. Science plays an important part in understanding the evolution of society through works of art, or Jewellery. Whether it is to characterize a canvas support, an ink, or to authenticate precious stones, it is necessary to use laboratory tools. Unfortunately, many of these tools imply a destructive analysis of the objects to be studied, and very few allow to go to the heart of the matter, which can be problematic in a sector where most of the pieces are rare or even unique. Moreover, a vast majority of non-destructive techniques are based on optical principles, which, if they are opaque, only allow a surface analysis of the objects to be studied. The major advantage of computed tomography lies in the fact that all the information, inner, as outer, is visible, and this, without any alteration of the part being studied and whatever the material.  

Nowadays, more and more laboratories and museums are equipped with one or several computed tomography equipment, as the French laboratory of gemology, in Paris, or the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, in Brussels.  

Radiography and tomography to reveal smallest secrets of work of Art

Whether for X-ray imaging or complete CT scans, the possibilities offered by RX Solutions' equipment are numerous. Our range of equipment allows our users to analyze and/or digitize a wide range of works, from the smallest to the most voluminous and dense. 

The use of X-rays is today an excellent non-destructive way to study the artist (or the craftsman) technique and materials he used, and the condition of unique works of art, without damaging them. As an example, for paintings, X-rays can be used to determine how the artist created his work, whether retouching has been done, or whether there are any additions to the canvas. Microtomography for its part, allows to study all kinds of statues, and how they were designed, what materials were used, etc...  

Beyond the analytical application of these techniques, our micro-tomography cabinets allow us to digitize these unique works, to record a digital volume of them. This allows, the saving and the sharing of knowledge between historians, museum curators, but also sociologists and anthropologists. The aim is to make it easier to study the evolution of different cultures at different times.

Here are some examples of applications of radiography and tomography:

  • Acquisition of radiographic and tomographic images of sculpted works to study their making methods, but also to determine their state of preservation (search for cracks, consolidated breaks, wood worms attack, corrosion, etc.);

  • Carrying out tomography scans on books or sealed documents. The difference in density between the materials constituting the support (paper, papyrus…) and ink makes it possible to reconstitute the texts without removing the seal(s) affixed, nor risking to damage pages of old manuscripts, often fragile;

  • Radiographic acquisition of painted works on canvas for indication of repentance, retouching, or anterior restoration marks, or even for the realization of state diagnostics for preventive conservation… 

  • Wooden artworks or tools dating according to reliable data for dendrochronology; 

  • Analysis and condition report of ancient manufactured objects like stained-glass windows, potteries, ceramics, textiles, jewels, etc.

A technology also adapted to the needs of Jewellery, and particularly to gemology

The professions of Jewellery are easily related to those of Art. The problematics are also very similar, which makes tomography and radiography so interesting for this field. It is indeed once again a question of rare, or unique pieces, with the need for non-destructive means of characterization, preserving the jewels, and/or gems. 

Tomography is an increasingly common mean of characterization, especially in gemology laboratories. It allows, through cross-sectional reconstructions of the volume of the pearl or gem studied, to have both information on their overall shape, but also on their internal composition, even if the sample is opaque.

With a resolution of up to 350nm, the micro and nano tomography devices proposed by RX Solutions allow a visualization of the samples in the smallest details. Easy to use, no sample preparation is required. 

Some examples of radiography and tomography applications in gemology:

  • Visualization of the internal structures of pearls in order to search potential nucleus;

  • Authentication: Identification of cultured pearls, synthetic diamonds, …;

  • Search for inclusions, or impurities;

  • Digitation of gems for their identification. 

Whether it is to analyze and authenticate a precious stone, to study a work of art, a jewel, in their singularity, or to follow the cultural evolution of Man throughout the History, radiography and tomography have become essential tools. Whatever the application, the equipment offered by RX Solutions adapts to your pieces, as well as to your needs, while guaranteeing their integrity.