Gemstone Examination Lesson

Step 3: Practical Gemology

Lesson 28

While preparing this lesson in gemstone examination, I was in the process of professionally identifying the following stones. Rather than create fictional examples, I decided to use the photos and descriptions of these actual gems and real-life cases to illustrate the procedures and problems you’ll encounter as a fledgling gemologist.

Gemstone Examination: Example 1

Unknown stone #1
Unknown stone #1

This stone looks like a tourmaline. I made that initial assessment based partly on its shape – tourmaline crystals are elongated, so rectangular gems are common – and partly on its color – green, but slightly grayish. It’s certainly not an emerald or other chromium-colored gem.

Tourmaline samples
Tourmaline samples

With the loupe, I saw that it’s well cut. It had some fingerprints and fractures, but no identifying inclusions.

The end facets are black. No light was passing through them. This is …

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