Chemical Mapping of Gemstones

The formation of gemstones is a complex process both in terms of space and time. Chemical (and colour) zoning is common, caused by intrinsic (e.g. oscillatory growth zoning) or extrinsic factors (e.g. change of rock chemistry due to fluid infiltration). A detailed mapping of elemental distribution may provide valuable information about formation kinetics which is not readily perceived based just on few single analysis spots. Preferably in high spatial resolution, the imaging of trace element distribution in a gemstone can thus be a powerful tool. A homogenized 10µm laser spot or even less is needed to provide quantitative element distribution images of high spatial resolution. By controlling the ablation process, it is possible to gain two-dimensional or even three-dimensional elemental distribution.