• Delft blue pigment;
  • Raman spectra;
  • alpha-cobalt silicate;
  • cobalt olivine;
  • pyrochlore yellow


The blue pigment as well as other materials in a blue, white and ‘gold’ 17th century Delft dish were analysed and compared to the blue pigment(s) used in a modern blue-and-white Delft dish, obtained from a tourist shop in Amsterdam in 2004. The ancient Delft blue pigment was compared to a commercial Delft blue powder identified as a cobalt-doped willemite, Zn2−xCoxSiO4. The 17th century Delft pigment showed a closer correspondence to the olivine, alpha-cobalt silicate. The pigment in the modern blue Delft dish was mainly a vanadium-doped zircon, ZrSiO4:V4+, with small amounts of cobalt, identified by EDX analysis. The cobalt compound could, however, not be characterised here for the modern dish. The pigment in the ‘golden’ rim was identified as pyrochlore yellow, PbSnSbO6.5. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.