Abstract

The provenance of gem stones has been of interest to geologists, gemologists, archeologists, and historians for centuries. Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) provides a minimally destructive tool for recording the rich chemical signatures of gem beryls (aquamarine, goshenite, heliodor, and morganite). Broadband LIBS spectra of 39 beryl (Be3Al2Si6O18) specimens from 11 pegmatite mines in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine (USA) are used to assess the potential of using principal component analysis of LIBS spectra to determine specimen provenance. Using this technique, beryls from the three beryl-bearing zones in the Palermo #1 pegmatite (New Hampshire) can be recognized. However, the compositional variation within this single mine is comparable to that in beryls from all three states. Thus, a very large database with detailed location metadata will be required to routinely determine gem beryl provenance.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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