Gems and trade

Egyptian researchers have used three spectroscopic techniques for rapid analysis of gemstones from Egypt, revealing their origins and providing a window into historical trade routes. Gemstones peridot (olivine) and emerald, and semi-gemstones beryl, amazonite, and amethyst, from mines in the Eastern Desert of Egypt, were analysed and compared with stones from Saudi Arabia. The techniques used revealed the mineral composition and atomic makeup of each gem, providing an identifying ‘fingerprint’, which allowed the team to differentiate between stones originating in Egypt and those from outside the region.

Image: Rob Lavinsky,, CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikicommons