Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 387, Issue 3, pp 791–801 | Cite as

Noninvasive methods for the investigation of ancient Chinese jades: an integrated analytical approach

  • Francesca Casadio
  • Janet G. Douglas
  • Katherine T. Faber
Original Paper


This paper reports on an integrated analytical approach for the noninvasive characterization of Chinese nephrite samples, encompassing both geological reference specimens and museum objects. Natural variations induced by cationic substitutions, as well as human-induced alterations such as heating, which both affect color, are the focus of this contribution. Totally noninvasive methods of analysis were used, including X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, Raman microspectroscopy, visible reflectance spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction; moreover, the feasibility of using a portable Raman spectrometer for the in-field identification of jades has been demonstrated. Fe/Fe+Mg (% p.f.u.) ratios of the jades have been calculated based on hydroxyl stretching Raman bands, which will provide an important addition to similar data that are being collected at major museums in the Western and Eastern hemispheres.


Jade Nephrite XRD Raman spectroscopy Visible spectrophotometry 



Conservation science research at the Art Institute of Chicago is made possible by a generous grant from the A.W. Mellon Foundation. The Community Associates of the Art Institute are thanked for their support of the microfocus XRF. Elinor Pearlstein and Jay Xu, curators of Asian Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, are also thanked. The assistance of Susie James, Alyson Whitney, Jerry Carsello and Benjamin Meyers for data collection at Northwestern is gratefully acknowledged. X-ray facilities at NU are supported by the MRSEC program of the National Science Foundation (DMR-0076097) of the Materials Research Center of Northwestern University. Wen Guang, Feng Min, Tan Li-ping and Joseph Hotung are thanked for providing reference nephrite samples.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesca Casadio
    • 1
  • Janet G. Douglas
    • 2
  • Katherine T. Faber
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Conservation ScienceThe Art Institute of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler GallerySmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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