Feature Gems & Gemology, Summer 1998, Volume 34, No. 2

Raman Investigations on Two Historical Objects from Basel Cathedral: The Reliquary Cross and Dorothy Monstrance

Two ecclesiastical objects of the late Gothic period (1350–1520) were investigated to identify the gemstones that adorn them. Both are from the treasury of Basel Cathedral (Basler Münster, Basel, Switzerland). To avoid potential damage, the identifications were conducted using only optical microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. Most of the mounted materials were found to be varieties of quartz, either as polished single pieces or as doublets with evidence of what may once have been dyed cement. Glass of various colors was also identified, as were peridot, sapphire, garnet, spinel, and turquoise.