Where does gold come from?

Direct analysis of geological and artefact gold is now possible thanks to a study published in JAAS.

Analysis of alluvial gold deposits from Ireland

Researchers from the University of Bristol in UK used solution and laser ablation mass spectrometry techniques to analyse lead isotopes in gold. They demonstrated the applicability of these techniques to archaeological samples by studying natural gold grains from two Irish alluvial gold deposits and two artefact samples from Early Bronze Age.

Currently, lead isotope analysis is the preferred method to establish the geographical origin of ore deposits, but when the study concerns the origin of gold mineralisation, analyses are performed on gold derived from the host rocks where it was originally formed. According to Christopher Standish and co-workers, this new approach allows direct analysis of both geological and artefact gold and improves the studies on archaeological provenance of gold used in antiquity.

To know more about this work, click on the link below. This paper will be free to read until January 24th.

Solution and laser ablation MC-ICP-MS lead isotope analysis of gold
Christopher Standish ,  Bruno Dhuime ,  Robert Chapman ,  Christopher Coath ,  Chris Hawkesworth and Alistair Pike
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2013, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C2JA30277B

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