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PXRF, μ-XRF, Vacuum μ-XRF, and EPMA Analysis of Email Champlevé Objects Present in Belgian Museums

  • Veerle Van der Linden (a1), Eva Meesdom (a2), Annemie Devos (a2), Rita Van Dooren (a3), Hans Nieuwdorp (a3), Elsje Janssen (a4), Sophie Balace (a5), Bart Vekemans (a6), Laszlo Vincze (a6) and Koen Janssens (a1)...


The enamel of 20 Email Champlevé objects dating between the 12th and 19th centuries was investigated by means of microscopic and portable X-ray fluorescence analysis (μ-XRF and PXRF). Seven of these objects were microsampled and the fragments were analyzed with electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) and vacuum μ-XRF to obtain quantitative data about the composition of the glass used to produce these enameled objects. As a result of the evolution of the raw materials employed to produce the base glass, three different compositional groups could be discriminated. The first group consisted of soda-lime-silica glass with a sodium source of mineral origin (with low K content) that was opacified by addition of calcium antimonate crystals. This type of glass was only used in objects made in the 12th century. Email Champlevé objects from the beginning of the 13th century onward were enameled with soda-lime-silica glass with a sodium source of vegetal origin. This type of glass, which has a higher potassium content, was opacified with SnO2 crystals. The glass used for 19th century Email Champlevé artifacts was produced with synthetic and purified components resulting in a different chemical composition compared to the other groups. Although the four analytical techniques employed in this study have their own specific characteristics, they were all found to be suitable for classifying the objects into the different chronological categories.


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