Can wood rings verify the authenticity of a Stradivarius?

In an article published in the journal Science Paolo Cherubini, of the Swiss Forest Research Institute (WSL), it proposes to use dendrocronology as a non -destructive method to date and guarantee the authenticity of these instruments.

As explained, “Dendrocronology studies the growth of trees over time.Taking the rings present in the wood and measuring their physical-chemical characteristics allows us to understand the environmental conditions in which the tree grew ”.

Rope instruments, particularly those built by Italian Luthiers such as Guarneri or Stradivari in northern Italy during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, are among the most valuable works of art in the world.For their timbric and tonal qualities, they have been highly appreciated and recognized by musicians and interpreters for centuries.

An example of the value that these instruments can reach is the sale in 2012 of the violin 'Vieuxtemps' of the Luthieri Guarneri of the Gesù, which reached a figure of more than 16 million dollars during an auction.But, as unique articles, they are prone to falsification, and a simple examination of their style and design may not be enough to assert authenticity.

¿Pueden los anillos de la madera verificar la autenticidad de un Stradivarius?

In addition, radioisotope dating techniques to verify the creation date require the use of a sample;A destructive analysis of analysis that, due to the characteristics of the instrument, is very difficult to carry out.

Method limitations

On the contrary, says Cherubini, the study of the patterns characteristic of wood - used to verify the authenticity in paint - is the only non -destructive analysis technique that can indicate the date from which an instrument could have been built.

This method has its limitations, since, to be necessary, it needs the wood of the instruments to be compared to wood samples of the same region and time."That is why only the analyzes performed by experts with the appropriate methods should be valid, and with a record of samples as extensive as possible," Cherubini warns.

“In the last 20 years there has been great controversy with some dating instruments that have confused the community.That is why I have written this perspective in Science to make clear the potential and limits of dendrocronology, ”concludes the researcher.