Step 3: Practical Gemology
Exhaust the Alternatives Before Dye Testing Gemstones
You can often distinguish dye in a gem with a microscope. See our article on identifying inclusions found in enhanced stones for more information on this. Remember, dye testing is a destructive test, so always examine your specimen with a microscope first.
The testing procedure presented here is a last resort, in cases where the microscope exam proves inconclusive.
Frequently Dyed Gemstones
Gemstone Dye Testing Procedures
- Choose an inconspicuous location on your specimen for your test. (If the stone is faceted, choose a point near the girdle).
- If you’re testing a strand of beads, make sure you don’t get any fluid on the cord. Some of the chemicals used for identification will damage cords.
- Dip a cotton swab in acetone and rub it quickly on an inconspicuous area of the gem. Clean the stone immediately with a damp cloth.
- Check the swab for dye. If there’s a colored