Gemstone Magnetism: The Forgotten Property

Step 3: Practical Gemology

Lesson 18

Gemstone magnetism - ruby and spinel
Although gemstone magnetism is not a commonly tested gemstone property, it may be useful for making quick separations outside the lab. Red gemstones such as ruby, spinel, and garnet may look alike. However, red garnets react strongly to magnetism. Rubies are non-responsive to weak. Spinels may have a weak response. “Ruby Corundum in Feldspar with Spinel” by Ryan Somma is licensed under CC By-SA 2.0

Some time ago, I became interested in gemstone magnetism. While researching this property, I found that some gemology schools had little to say on the subject. (Many gemology books fail to list magnetic attraction as a gemstone property at all). Most think magnetism testing is not reliable enough to use with any success in gemstone identification. I disagree with that position. However, I think this property should be used as a confirmative test …

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