Díaz-Acha, Y., Campeny, M., Casas, L., Di Febo, R., Ibañez-Insa, J., Jawhari, T., Bosch, J., Borrell, F., Jorge-Villar, S. E., Greneche, J.-M., Tauler, E., & Melgarejo, J. C. (2022). Colours of Gemmy Phosphates from the Gavà Neolithic Mines (Catalonia, Spain): Origin and Archaeological Significance. In Minerals (Vol. 12, Issue 3). https://doi.org/10.3390/min12030368


In the Neolithic Gavà mines, variscite and turquoise were exploited for ornaments manufacturing, although some prospective pits and tunnels were dug on other similar greenish minerals such as smectite or kandite. A 3D study of the distribution of mineral phases allows us to determine the parameters involved in variscite colours. Methods are comprised of quantitative colourimetry, thin section petrography, SEM-BSE-EDS, EMPA, XRD, Raman spectroscopy, and 57Fe Mössbauer spectrometry. Mapping of the mines indicates that colour is not directly dependent on depth. Although variscite from Gavà is poor in Cr3+ and V+3 compared with gemmy variscite from other localities, the deep green samples content has the highest values of Cr3+. In the case of cryptocrystalline mixtures with jarosite, phosphosiderite, or goethite, variscite tends to acquire a greenish brown to olivaceous hue. If white minerals such as quartz, kandite, crandallite, or alunite are involved in the mixtures, variscite and turquoise colours become paler.

Reference article

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