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Minerals 2018, 8(6), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8060225

Changes in the Signature of Cobalt Colorants in Late Antique and Early Islamic Glass Production

IRAMAT-CEB, UMR5060, CNRS/Université d’Orléans, 3D, rue de la Férollerie, 45071 Orléans CEDEX 2, France
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Received: 27 March 2018 / Revised: 17 May 2018 / Accepted: 19 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage)
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Abstract

Prior to the eighteenth century, cobalt was exclusively employed as a colouring agent for vitreous materials, and its use appears to be concurrent with the earliest large-scale production of glass during the Late Bronze Age (LBA). LBA cobalt deposits with a distinctive elemental signature have been identified in the oases of the western Egyptian desert, while cobalt mines in Kashan (Iran) and in the Erzgebirge (Germany) are known to have been exploited during the later Middle Ages. For most of the first millennium BCE and CE, however, the identity of cobalt sources and their supply patterns remain elusive. The aim of this study is to characterise the chemical composition of cobalt colorants used during the first millennium CE. Compositional variations indicate the use of different raw materials and/or production processes, which in turn has implications for the underlying exchange networks. Using mainly correlations between cobalt, nickel and zinc as discriminants, our results show that the compositional signature of cobalt underwent two major changes. An increase in the CoO/NiO ratios occurs between the late fourth and the beginning of the sixth century, while a new zinc-rich source of cobalt begins to be exploited during the second half of the eighth century in the Islamic world. View Full-Text
Keywords: Roman glass; Islamic glass; Byzantine glass; Merovingian glass beads; Viking glass beads; cobalt colorant signature; nickel contents; zinc contents Roman glass; Islamic glass; Byzantine glass; Merovingian glass beads; Viking glass beads; cobalt colorant signature; nickel contents; zinc contents
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Gratuze, B.; Pactat, I.; Schibille, N. Changes in the Signature of Cobalt Colorants in Late Antique and Early Islamic Glass Production. Minerals 2018, 8, 225.

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