Elemental analysis of New Zealand Nephrite Jade (pounamu) for forensic purposes

Campbell, Gareth P.
Miskelly, Gordon M.
Coulson, Sally Anne
Yaxley, Gregroy M.
Curran, James M.
Pounamu (NZ jade), or nephrite, is a protected mineral in its natural form following the transfer of ownership back to Ngai Tahu under the Ngai Tahu (Pounamu Vesting) Act 1997. Any theft of nephrite is prosecutable under the Crimes Act 1961. Scientific evidence is essential in cases where origin is disputed. A robust method for discrimination of this material through the use of elemental analysis and compositional data analysis is required. Initial studies have characterised the variability within a given nephrite source. This has included investigation of both in situ outcrops and alluvial material. Methods for the discrimination of two geographically close nephrite sources are being developed. Key Words: forensic, jade, nephrite, laser ablation, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, multivariate analysis, elemental analysis, compositional data analysis ​
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