JAIC 1985, Volume 24, Number 2, Article 5 (pp. 104 to 109)
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Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1985, Volume 24, Number 2, Article 5 (pp. 104 to 109)


N. Indictor, R.J. Koestler, & R. Sheryll


  1. The use of different mordants and additives in the cochineal dyeing of wool produced a wide variety of color.
  2. The elements aluminum, iron, copper, tin and chromium were unambiguously matched respectively with wool samples which were mordanted with K2O4Al2(SO4)3 24H2O, FeSO4 7H2O, CuSO4 5H2O, SnCl2 2H2O and K2Cr2O7, and dyed with cochineal.
  3. Some samples gave trace analyses in EDS scans for iron and aluminum (although not actually used in the mordanting procedure) but far less than when these elements were actually used in the mordanting procedure. The ratio of the weight percent, metallic element/sulfur, appears to provide a useful criterion for deciding whether or not a mordant has been applied to wool. The criterion may also be extended to the analysis of silk samples (see Part II).
  4. Atomic absorption analyses confirm the presence of metallic elements in greater than trace quantities as detected by EDS scans. EDS scans indicating trace quantities of elements (Al and Fe) are also confirmed.
  5. The presence or absence of mordants or additives could not be inferred from differences in the appearance of fibers examined in this study by SEM photomicrographs.

Copyright 1985 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works