Fine Art and Artifact Authentication Services
There are many forgeries in all areas of the art market and some of these are very sophisticated. It is, therefore, important to deal with reputable galleries and dealers as well as to exercise some reasonable due diligence.
Sophisticated fakes can fool even experienced collectors, thus care must be taken at all times.
The authentication process usually begins with a thorough visual examination of the surface and material substance of the object. A strong raking light across the surface and an ultraviolet light can reveal things which may not be seen under normal lighting. Greater details can then be studied with magnifications from 2x to 200x before we move on to simple physical tests of the materials. In most cases this all that is needed to make a determination of authenticity. However, if it isn’t, we employ techniques such as Carbon-14 dating, X-ray Imaging examinations, X-ray Fluorescence, or Thermoluminescence Analysis to make a scientific determination. The cost of scientific authentication can save collectors a great deal of money in the long run and the certificates become a valuable part of the future of the object.
The authentication of carved stone and jade objects is very specialized and difficult because there is no scientific method capable of dating when a stone was carved. Therefore expertise in the knowledge of the ancient techniques of lapidary work is essential as well as the ability to distinguish the differences between ancient and modern tooling signatures. Surfaces of ancient tooling have been exposed to long-term weathering and chemical changes in their burial. There can be erosion, accretions and surface changes that fakers often try to duplicate but when it is done artificially it can be detected in a thorough examination.
Authentication / Scientific Analysis
Our direct experience with handling thousands of objects and performing restoration, scientific analysis, consulting with experts and exhibiting collections in many museums has given us a valuable background for the process of authenticating ancient artworks. We have a great knowledge of the various materials and methods used by ancient man in the production of art.
While style is always an important consideration, a thorough visual examination using 5x to 10x magnification under a raking light can usually reveal evidence that is sufficient to form an opinion about the object.
In some cases it is necessary to use a higher power digital microscope to analyze tooling signatures, methods of production, and the effects of weathering, wear, deposits, and accretions that are present. It is possible for us to find the details that can expose modern forgeries. However, with some materials, scientific analysis may also be needed for additional certainty.
We are certified associates of the finest laboratories in the world and can offer a variety of scientific analysis that is applicable to the study of antiquities.
Radiocarbon dating (C 14) is the scientific method of measuring the radioactive decay of Carbon 14 which exists in all biological material. This includes bone, shell, wood, plant fibers, textiles, and paper.
Uranium, Thorium, Helium Analysis is the scientific method measuring the helium that is produced in gold by the decay of uranium and thorium. This measurement basically tells when the gold was last melted.