Feature Gems & Gemology, Summer 2008, Volume 44, No. 2

Characterization of Emeralds from a Historical Deposit: Byrud (Eidsvoll), Norway

An emerald deposit at Byrud, in southern Norway, yielded significant quantities of crystals and gem rough in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Complex multiphase inclusions in the emeralds consist of water, gaseous methane, halite, sylvite, calcite, and a sulfide assemblage (pyrrhotite, galena, and sphalerite). This sulfide assemblage makes it easy to distinguish Byrud emeralds from those from other localities with a binocular microscope. The chemical composition of Byrud emeralds is also characteristic: They are colored mostly by vanadium (up to 1 wt.% V2O3), and contain low sodium and magnesium (0.1 wt.% oxide or less). Moreover, the relative amounts of iron, magnesium, chromium, rubidium, and cesium appear to be diagnostic. Infrared absorption spectra show that they contain little water. Emeralds from the Byrud deposit are still occasionally recovered by hobbyist collectors from the mine dumps.


Table 1: Minerals Associated with Byrud Emerald and Their Relative Abundance 
Table 2: Details of the LA-ICP-MS Analyses of Three Byrud Emeralds
Table 3: Chemical Composition of Norwegian Emeralds by Electron Microprobe
Submitted by Benjamin Rondeau
Summer, 2008