Sulfur K-edge XANES of lazurite: Toward determining the provenance of lapis lazuli

Alessa A. Gambardella, Catherine M. Schmidt Patterson*, Samuel M. Webb, Marc S. Walton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Lazurite, the blue mineral found in lapis lazuli, may be a marker for the identification of provenance. Sulfur K-edge X-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopy (XANES) of lazurite from lapis lazuli of various locations, such as Afghanistan, Russia, Chile, the USA, Iran, Tajikistan, and Myanmar, is described. The XANES spectra reveal that several different sulfur chemistries exist within lazurite, attributed to contributions from multiple sulfur species. A peak at 2482.5. eV is attributed to sulfate; an envelope of peaks between 2470 and 2475. eV is attributed to polysulfide radicals, polysulfide dianions, neutral sulfur, and/or thiosulfate; and a peak at 2469.1. eV is attributed to the trisulfur and/or disulfur radical(s). Also, a peak of unknown origin arises at 2466.3. eV in several spectra. The spectral profile for the envelope of peaks (2470 to 2475. eV) varies between samples and in some instances, within a sample. Most notably, the studied samples from Chile display two distinct peaks near 2471.7 and 2473.5. eV with a local minimum at 2472.5. eV, unlike the most commonly observed pattern-that typically observed for samples from Afghanistan-with a single maximum intensity near 2472.5. eV. Other more subtle variations in this energy range also correlate with provenance at varying degrees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-307
Number of pages9
JournalMicrochemical Journal
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Lapis lazuli
  • Lazurite
  • Provenance
  • Sulfur
  • Ultramarine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy

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