Provenance and gemstone studies

GEUS has a long tradition for the investigation of provenance (region of origin) of mineral sands. For these investigations zircon and other minerals (e.g. rutile, monazite) age-distribution patterns and heavy- mineral suite compositions are determined, applying Laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry and scanning electron microscopy, respectively.

The mineralogy, grain morphology and bulk chemistry of e.g. ore minerals and heavy-mineral sands can be investigated with CCSEM and automated analytical mineralogy.

GEUS has a long tradition in establishing the modal mineralogy and other properties of samples like titanium sands, and in establishing the provenance of heavy minerals in sandstone units.

Gemstones fingerprint

The geochemical fingerprinting of rubies can be established using trace elements and their oxygen isotope signature. Combined with information on optical inclusions and growth patterns, a distinct fingerprint for these gemstones can be established.

We combine these investigations with several types of petrological investigations in order to establish how and where rubies, such as the one illustrated below (from Fiskenæsset complex, Greenland), are formed. 

Raw pink sapphire

Raw pink sapphire from the Fiskenæsset complex, Greenland.

Nynke Keulen
Senior Researcher
Mapping and Mineral Resources