Product Review, No Name Refractometers


Inexpensive, no-name-brand, Chinese made refractometers have recently appeared on eBay for around $150. With most refractometers ranging between $550 and $1000, that is highly appealing! I know that excellent optical equipment is coming from China and was anxious to try one of these.

One of our members lent us a unit to test. On opening the package, one difference is immediately apparent. The no-name-brand refractometer is much smaller than my Duplex II. The hemisphere, lens and light opening are less than half the size the GIA unit. I expected this to be a source of trouble, but as I got testing it all my expectations were proven wrong.

The Good

I began by testing a number of faceted gems of known identity. To my surprise, I found this unit much easier to use than the larger, GIA instrument. The smaller hemisphere creates a smaller viewing area. The stone is automatically …

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