Many of the ancient black eye paints, the kohls, consisted of galena, stibine or antimony sulfide, cerussite and in addition laurionite and phosgenite as reported by other authors. The Roman civilization made of their own this type of Egyptian cosmetic, moreover the literature reports also the use of the simplest and cheapest fuligo (black smoke) used to mark the eyebrows and the contour of the eyelashes. A large number of black-to-grey powders found inside Pompeiian unguentaries have been analysed by infrared spectrometry and Raman microscopy. The analyses show that deep black powders are essentially amorphous carbon that can derive from the carbonisation of vegetal or, frequently, animal tissues. In fact, carbon is found to be associated with apatite, whose presence could be attributed to the carbonisation of animal bones in a controlled atmosphere. Concerning the gray powders it is also to underline the rare occurrence of some particular materials that have been detected in painting materials (“Casa dei Casti Amanti” and the “Officina pigmentaria”); among them it is to recall jarosite, a yellow basic iron sulphate already identified in Egyptian paintings.Other interesting findings are anglesite and epsomite, not ascribable to the existence on the site of minerals of this kind: they can be interpreted as degradation products of other materials, such as magnesite, dolomite and cerussa, in the presence of sulfur dioxide from the surges or from the modern acid rains.The rare occurrence of minium could be bound to the use as a pinkish material for fards or to a degradation due to heating of cerussa during the violent surges of the 79 a.C. The presence of the iron classes of compounds (hematite, goethite, lepidocrocite and magnetite) could derive in some cases from a proper addition of an ochre, in order to obtain a special nuance of fard. The occurrence of aragonite and dolomite is parallel to the analogous findings among the painting materials, whereas cerussite comes from a carbonatation of hydrocerussite, the proper component of cerussa, the preeminent ancient white cosmetic used as foundation cream.
Black eyeliners in ancient Rome: the case of Pompeii / Gamberini, Maria Cristina; Baraldi, Cecilia; Palazzoli, Federica; E., Ribechini; Baraldi, Pietro; P., Walter. - STAMPA. - ...:(2007), pp. 76-77. (Intervento presentato al convegno IV International Conference on the Application of Raman Spectroscopy in Art and Archeology tenutosi a Modena, Ducal Palace nel 5-8th September 2007).