Forensic Analysis of Tattoos and Tattoo Inks: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Forensic Analysis of Tattoos and Tattoo Inks

1st Edition

By Michelle D. Miranda

CRC Press

364 pages | 284 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2015-09-10
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Forensic Analysis of Tattoos and Tattoo Inks is the single most comprehensive resource on the analysis of tattoo inks and use of tattoos as a tool in forensic investigations and criminalistics. The book begins with a history of tattoos and tattoo inks, and covers the use of tattoos throughout time as aids in the identification of individuals. It presents identification methods of identification through tattoos on charred, decomposed, mummified, or otherwise unidentifiable remains in both criminal investigations and mass disasters.

This book provides an understanding of the process of tattooing and the roles of tattoos in criminological inquiry and legal matters. It scientifically evaluates tattoo inks, documenting the physical properties of the inks both macroscopically and microscopically as well as spectroscopically—identifying the optical and chemical properties of the various pigments found in these inks. A thorough analytical method is developed to conform to current laboratory accreditation standards and the satisfaction of legal standards such as Frye, Daubert and the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Forensic Analysis of Tattoos and Inks shows how routine scientific inquiry can be applied to tattoo evidence by adding an objective component to interpretation, identification, and individualization of tattoos and tattoo inks in investigations. It presents the science and chemistry of tattoos and tattoo inks as a reliable tool in forensic casework and other related criminal and legal matters.


"The literature within the forensic domain is limited in this area. The text gathers together much of this and as such acts as a useful reference." - Niamh NicDaeid, Springer, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

Table of Contents


Tattoos and Tattooing

Terminology and Technique

Tattoo Prevalence and Interpretation

Tattoos and Tattooing in Criminology and Criminal Investigations

Tattoos and Criminological Theories

Tattoos and Forensic Investigations

Identification and Individualization

Tattoos and Criminal Investigations

Tattoos in the Courtroom

Tattoos and Scientific Inquiry

Tattoo Modification, Removal, and Detection

The Anatomy of Human Skin

Tattoo Pigments and Human Tissue

Detection of Pigments in Tattooed Skin

Visualization of Tattoos

Tattoo Removal Methods

Thermal Cautery and Laser Tattoo Removal


General Components of Tattoo Inks

Liquid Composition of Tattoo Inks

Pigment Composition of Tattoo Inks

Homemade Tattoo Inks

Professional Tattoo Inks

The Chemistry of Tattoo Inks from Ancient to Modern Times

Black Tattooing Pigments

Red Tattooing Pigments

Orange Tattooing Pigments

Yellow Tattooing Pigments

Green Tattooing Pigments

Blue Tattooing Pigments

Purple Tattooing Pigments

White Tattooing Pigments

Brown Tattooing Pigments

Modern Tattooing Pigments

The Transition from Natural to Synthetic Pigments in Tattoo Inks

Additional Studies and Reports on Tattoo Ink Composition

The Liquid Composition of Modern Tattoo Inks

Additional Studies of Modern Tattoo Inks and Pigments


Alternate Sources of Tattoos and Tattoo Inks

Pigments for Medicinal Purposes

Pigments for Cosmetic Purposes

Pigments Used in Art and Manufacturing

Writing Inks

Modern Organic Pigments

The Chemical Analysis of Modern Tattoo Inks: Microscopy

Iron Works Brasil Tattoo Inks

Skin Candy Tattoo Inks

Flying Tigers Tattoo Inks

The Chemical Analysis of Modern Tattoo Inks: Spectroscopy

X-Ray Fluorescence: Theory and Practice

UV-Vis Spectrometry: Theory and Practice

Infrared Spectrometry: Theory and Practice

Raman Spectroscopy: Theory and Practice

SERS: Theory and Practice

Instrument Calibration, Method Development, and Standard Practices

Spectroscopic Analysis of Tattoo Inks

Chemistry and UV-Vis Spectroscopy

Tattoos in Tissue

The Chemical Analysis of Modern Tattoo Inks: Spectroscopy

Results: Pigment Standards

Results: Tattoo Inks

Results: Pigskin


Current Status and Future Work

Scientific Inquiries

Legislation and Regulation Concerning Tattooing

About the Author

Michelle Miranda holds a PhD in criminal justice with a forensic science concentration and an MPhil in criminal justice from The CUNY Graduate Center. Dr. Miranda is a diplomate with the American Board of Criminalistics and a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. She worked as a criminalist in the Trace Evidence Section of the NYPD crime lab, and as both a medical photographer and a death investigator for regional medical examiner’s offices in New York State. She is an adjunct assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is currently employed as an assistant professor in the Department of Security Systems and Law Enforcement Technology at Farmingdale State College (SUNY).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science
SCIENCE / Chemistry / General
SCIENCE / Chemistry / Analytic