International Gem Society
Dedicated to bringing quality information and educational services to everyone interested in gemstones.French, German, Italian, Portugese and Spanish speakers click here.
... Such is the science of gemology. By taking enough measurements I can start with a list of hundreds of possible minerals and systematically eliminate possibilities down to one. Or so I hope! :-)
... There is a point where gemology becomes an art, where the final determination is made by human observation, (combined with knowledge and experience,) rather than measurements taken with precision instruments.
... This is particularly true when it comes to separating natural from synthetic gems. A synthetic ruby will have the identical set of measurable physical and optical properties it’s natural counterpart does. The separation is made by observation of inclusions with a microscope. In some cases this is simple and straight forward, but at other times it requires judgment based on experience. Microscopic details are subtle!
... If you are a novice gemologist, I hope you have learned two things from this. First, what the basic procedures are to identify gems. Second and most importantly, that a little information can be a dangerous thing.
... While learning gemology is a worthwhile endeavor, you shouldn’t make an expensive decision based on limited knowledge. Also, you should be cautious who you trust to identify your gems.
... Most jewelers have limited experience in colored stones. If they have a Graduate Gemologist degree, that means they are well trained in methodology and the use of instruments. However, their training only covers the 100 or so gems that are most likely to show up in jewelry. While they may be able to identify the more common gems, they occasionally come across minerals that are outside the range of their experience and their reference materials.
... If you would like to learn more about gemology, you can contact your local college or university. Some of them have courses available. The Gemological Institute of America has an excellent correspondence course. A word of caution though, this is both expensive and difficult. It is not something to be taken lightly.
... If your interest is more casual, or your time too restricted, then I suggest you become a member of the International Gem Society. Here information is presented in common language, inexpensively and there is no pressure to perform.
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