artificial lighting for gems - lights in a jewelry shop
artificial lighting for gems - lights in a jewelry shop

Finding the Best Artificial Lighting for Gems: Buying, Selling, and Grading


Gemstones are creatures of light. Learn how lighting impacts gem sales and get recommendations for high-quality artificial lighting for gems.

12 Minute Read

Introduction to White Light

Did you know that white light is actually a combination of wavelengths of colored light? When many colors of light enter your eye, the eye registers it as white light. You can see this effect by simply allowing sunlight to refract through a prism. Different colors, or wavelengths, will bend at different angles, creating a rainbow.

Spectra

If you look closely at the rainbow from your prism, you'll see that it's complete and has a fairly even intensity. However, using your light bulb as a source of light might show you something different. Light bulbs may show greater intensity in certain colors of light and weaker intensity in others. Traditional incandescent lights exhibit greater intensity at the red end of the spectrum. Other bulbs emit several discrete wavelengths, which the eye perceives as white. A continuous spectrum, without any gaps, is ideal for viewing gemstones. Note the differences between the spectra of these lamps shown below.

Images © Iain Mason. Used with permission.

Spectral Power Distribution

For understanding the intensity of different colors in white light, the spectral power distribution (SPD) is essential. While most artificial lights have peaks and troughs in their SPD, sunlight...


Addison Rice

A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison’s interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth’s geological processes began in her elementary school’s environmental club. When she isn’t writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.

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