Microscopy & Material ID

Microscopy is used during finishes investigations (along with exposure windows) to establish the original visual intent of a space through the identification of finish type, color, and pattern. It can also be used in Petrography and Mortar Analysis. Microscopy is the use of a microscope to examine paint or mortar samples. In our conservation studio, our team magnifies the samples to identify each individual layer of paint, and determine historic color schemes.

The microscopy portion of a finishes investigation begins by taking samples from architectural elements throughout the area in our scope of work. Following collection, the samples are prepared and analyzed under high magnification. In the EverGreene conservation studio, microscopic examination of cross‐sections is performed with a trinocular stereo zoom microscope that is fitted with color‐balanced LED illumination, to simulate daylight. This illumination helps provide accurate chromatic readings and enhances the distinction between paint layers. Once the layers in the stratigraphy have been examined and understood, the interpretation of the original (or the interpreted period) color or finish can be made. The examination of each sample includes matching the period of significance finish layer to equivalents in the Munsell universal color system in order to provide not only a reference for representation but also a means of replicating the color and finish technique if desired.