Rem: Revista Escola de Minas
Print version ISSN 0370-4467
MEIRELLES, Anna Cristina Resque and COSTA, Marcondes Lima da. Mineralogy and chemistry of the green stone artifacts (muiraquitãs) of the museums of the Brazilian State of Pará. Rem: Rev. Esc. Minas [online]. 2012, vol.65, n.1, pp. 59-64. ISSN 0370-4467. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0370-44672012000100008.
Muiraquitãs, lithic artifacts found in the Amazon basin, have been considered to be Asian in origin, or to have been sculpted by the legendary female Amazon warriors. These pieces are now very rare, and are found mainly in museum collections. In the present study, the mineralogical and chemical content of 23 specimens from the collections of the Museu de Gemas (Gemstone Museum) and Museu do Encontro (Meeting Museum) in Belém, Brazil, were analyzed. Most of the pieces were made of minerals commonly found in Brazil - quartz, albite, microcline, variscite, anorthite, and tremolite (the equivalent of nephritic jade). However, four of the pieces were made of jadeite, that is, jadeitic jade, which is unknown in the Amazon basin or in other parts of Brazil. The confirmation of the presence of this mineral in some of the artifacts reopens the debate on the mineralogical origin of the muiraquitãs found in the Amazon basin. Before the present discovery, their origin was defended as Amazonian due to the absence of jadeite jade in the searched pieces and the fact that jadeite was not found in Brazil but in Central America and Asia.
Keywords : Muiraquitã; jade; jadeite; Amazonia; tremolite; actinolite.