News of the WeekGeology

Discovering the Original Emerald Cities

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Science  28 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5453, pp. 562
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5453.562a

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On page 631, scientists describe a kind of atomic birth certificate that can peg where emeralds were grubbed from the ground. The technique might help dealers authenticate top-quality stones, and it could clear up the mysterious origins of Old World emeralds, including some famous gems. Indeed, the approach is already providing information on ancient trade routes, and it might someday offer tantalizing hints of long-lost mines.