Abstract

Natural emeralds from 11 mining areas were studied using an infrared spectrometer. The results showed different spectroscopic characteristics for emerald from different mine regions. Infrared absorption is mainly attributed to the vibration of Si–O lattice, channel water, alkaline cations, and molecules such as CO2, [Fe2(OH)4]2+, etc. Both near-infrared and mid-infrared spectra showed that the differences in band positions, intensities, and shapes are related to the mixed ratio of the two types of channel water. Accordingly, emerald and its mining regions can be divided into 3 types: H2O I, H2O II, and transition I–II. Furthermore, the study indicates that the relative amounts of the two different orientations of channel water molecules are mainly affected by the presence of (Mg + Fe)2+ in the host rock or in the mineralizing fluid. Therefore, the mineralization environment type (alkali-poor, alkali-rich, and transitional types) of emerald can be preliminarily identified from IR spectroscopy. This can be useful for determining the origin of emeralds.

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