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The Use of Probabilistic Neural Network and UV Reflectance Spectroscopy as an Objective Cultured Pearl Quality Grading Method

Snezana Agatonovic-Kustrin and David W Morton

Pearl quality and value are determined as a combination of different features, with mollusk species, nacre thickness, luster, surface, shape, color and pearl size, being the most important. A pearl grader has to quantify visual observations and to assign a grading level to a pearl. The aim of this work was to reduce subjectivity in the assessment of some aspects of pearl quality by using artificial neural networks to predict pearl quality parameters from UV reflectance spectra. Given the good predictability of our previous model that used multilayer perceptron ANN modeling of UVVisible spectra to predict the grade of pearls, we wanted to simplify and improve the model by reducing the spectral input to UV only and by using classifier neural network modelling. It is hypothesized that as UV light is of higher energy than visible light, it may penetrate further into the surface of the pearl, and hence the corresponding UV diffuse reflectance spectrum may provide more information that can be used to assess pearl quality. The developed models were successful in predicting mollusk pearl growing species, pearl and donor color, luster, and surface complexity. The simplified models have been built resulting in more accurate prediction of selected pearl quality parameters when compared with the previous reported model.