Saturday, January 9, 2010

Identifying Your Gemstones

A lot of people, like me, collect gemstones. Then after we get a bunch, we think now what should I do with these? Some people resell, make jewelry, learn to identify them, or just love collecting them. I decided I wanted to make jewelry, and learn to identify my gemstones. I also collect, and give them as gifts, as well. Last year I purchase three gemstone tools, to help me learn to identify my stones. Now I must say just having the tools, with no reading knowledge really is not helpful at all. I purchased Gemstone Identification Made Easy, and it was so helpful. I have the dichroscope, 10x loupe, and chelsea filter. The loupe is very explanatory, and simple to use. I must say though, it takes a very long time, to learn, and recognize any inclusions that help identify stones. I find it more useful for finding chips, cracks, and other flaws. The chelsea filter, though easy to use, again is only really useful for identifying a small number of stones. The dichroscope however, is very useful, and is simple to use once you get used to what you are seeing. I personally recommend you have a large number of lose stones, with some you already know what they are, to properly learn what you are seeing. The dichroscope has two small windows in it, when you look through the eye piece. The basic of it is, if you see the exact same color, or combo of colors in both windows, then it is a single refractive gemstone. If you see one color, or set of colors, in one window, and another tone or hue, or completely different color in the other box, then it is doubly refractive. I was confused at first, because I would see two colors in both windows, and because there was two colors I thought it was doubly refractive. Not true, if it is the same exact color combo, like orange/red, in both windows, it is single refractive. Look at it like looking in the mirror. If it matches exactly then it is single. Then you have to rotate the dichroscope, not the stone, to see if there is any new color that appears, or change in tone or hue, of colors from the first set of colors. If you see a second color, then it shows dichroism, if you see three colors then it is called trichroism. So how does all this info, help identify your gems? Because, there are only a very few number of gems that are singly refracting, and they are diamonds, garnet, spinel, glass, and plastic. So you can see how quickly you could eliminate a whole bunch of gems, if it is a single refracting stone. Once you have mastered the dichroscope you can simply sort your stones by single refracting, and double refracting, then if you have a refractometer, you can narrow it down to almost completely knowing what you have. I do not have a refractometer yet, but I intend to purchase one this year.

Tomorrow I am doing an interesting post on Tanzanite, and Zoisite, which was spawned by a yellow stone with trichroism, that I found in a recent parcel I purchased. Be sure to check back to read it.

So far I only have one entry to win the lovely necklace, posted at the top of this blog. Be sure to check it out, and get your entry in. How often do you get to win beautiful, free jewelry? You have nothing to lose.


betchai said...

oh, that lovely necklace will be raffled Melissa, lucky will be the winner. that is so beautiful.

Michelle said...

Wonderful post. Can't wait to read the post on Tanzanite. That's my favorite stone. Thanks for stopping by.

Melissa said...

betchai yes be sure to get your entry in.

Michelle, I like tanzanite, but I wouldn't say it is a favorite. I think it is way over priced, for what it actually is.

onlinewriter said...

I really admire your passion in collecting gems, Melissa. I've always been fascinated about making jewelry but never made an effort to learn.I can't even identify gemstones, nor do i know about dichroism or trichroism,refracting,etc hehe.

I'd love to win that necklace but sadly, I'm not covered by the contest.I'm thousands of miles away. So good luck to the lucky winner!

Melissa said...

I am sorry Rochelle. I wish my post office wasn't such a pain about international shipping. They make it unbearable.

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