Could it be gold??

As mentioned in an earlier blog the XRF can be used to detect elements. During our XRF course we tried out the XRF on different museum objects. One of the objects was a piece of textile assumed to originate from a medieval dress dating back to the 13th century. The piece of textile was found in a cave closes to Selje monastery on the island of Selja together with other pieces of textile. Our textile conservator, when observing the textile through a microscope, detected the presence of gold like treads in some darker areas of textile. The suspected gold like treads is shown in the picture below (black and white arrows).

The piece of textile is woven in a pattern with lovebirds and geometric figures as shown beneath. The presumed gold treads is part of the lovebirds heads (gold like tread marked with black arrows).


This theory was tested by analyzing the textile piece with the XRF and we ascertained the suspicion! The measurement was taken with the “plastic” program, which is the XRF program calibrated with the broadest range of components. We measured for 30 seconds and established a presence of gold, which were further confirmed when we took a closer look at the spectrum of the measurement.

The spectrum of the measurement shows peaks for energy levels that assimilate the peaks for energy levels of pure gold. The presence of gold was thereby confirmed.