Age Dating & Inclusion Analysis

Gemstones from different origins are likely to have formed at different geological periods. Therefore, age information can be helpful when origin determination of a gemstone is required. Direct age dating of gemstones, such as sapphires, can be difficult. Fortunately, small inclusions such as zircon (often found in sapphire, pointed by white arrow in figure below) can provide useful hints. Zircon is one of the most popular minerals for age dating, as it provides a Uranium (U) - Lead (Pb) age dating system (“geological clock”). In order to precisely measure the U-Pb dating system, multiple isotopes from U and Pb have to be acquired within this small amount of sample (inclusion). Unlike LA-ICP-Q-MS that measures isotopes one after another, which may not be fast enough to acquire enough information for a reliable age dating, GemTOF measures all isotopes simultaneously even in minute zircon inclusions.

Other inclusions (e.g. apatite, calcite, rutile, tourmaline) may provide additional key information about the chemical environment conditions when a gemstone is formed.