Founded in 2000, Orion is a privately held firm that investigates the structure and chemical composition of materials comprising cultural property, forensic evidence, and manufactured goods.
Orion also consults on authenticity studies, insurance claims, and civil and criminal proceedings, as consulting or testifying expert.
Orion's clientele includes art historians and conservators, auction houses and galleries, museums and non-profit institutions, attorneys and law enforcement agencies, collectors and Fortune 500 companies -- such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Christie's and Sotheby's, the United States Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation, AXA Art Insurance Corp. and AIG, Dupont and Colgate Palmolive.
Orion was founded and is directed by James Martin, who has undertaken more than 1700 hundred analytical studies and consultations for clients in North and South America, the European Union, Africa, and the Far East. Before establishing Orion, Mr. Martin founded and operated for ten years a not-for-profit laboratory supported by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a national provider of light microscopy and infrared microspectroscopy to the conservation and historic preservation community.
Mr. Martin received his M.S. from the University of Delaware/Winterthur Program in the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Objects in 1989, and was a Samuel H. Kress Fellow at the University of Cambridge, England. He has assisted the Federal Bureau of Investigation since 1994, and taught paint analysis and infrared spectroscopy at the FBI Counter-terrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit between 2002 and 2008. Mr. Martin is a Research Scientist in Chemistry at Williams College, an Adjunct Instructor at New York University, and serves on the Advisory Council of the Appraisers Association of America.
Mr. Martin is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, a charter member of the American Society of Trace Evidence Examiners, and is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. He chaired AIC's Research & Technical Studies Subgroup, was a member of its Ethics and Standard Committee, and was Program Chair for the 2007 Annual Meeting on Fakes, Forgeries and Fabrications. Mr. Martin also is a member of the American Chemical Society, the New England Society of Microscopy, and the Society of Applied Spectroscopy and is a contributor to the American Society for Testing and Materials and the Infrared and Raman Users Group.
Orion is headquartered in Williamstown, Massachusetts, about one hour east of the Albany International Airport (New York), one and one-half hours northwest of the Bradley International Airport (Connecticut), and about three hours west of Logan Airport (Boston) and north of JFK Airport (New York).
Orion's facility is equipped with state-of-the-art research instrumentation for infrared microspectroscopy (FT-IR), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy, polarized light and fluorescence microscopy, stereomicroscopy, sample preparation (thin-sections, cross-sections, extractions, etc.), and scientific photography. Scanning electron microscopy with backscattered electron imaging and x-ray energy-dispersive spectrometry, and other instrumental methods, are used for research at nearby academic institutions. Orion collaborates with scientists and researchers at other institutions, who are expert in x-ray diffraction, instrumental chromatography, radiocarbon dating, thermoluminescence, etc.