The Spectroscope in Gemology

Step 3: Practical Gemology

Lesson 3

spectroscope - malaya garnet
“Malaya Garnet,” 3.06 cts, round brilliant cut, Tanzania. © Dan Stair Custom Gemstones. Used with permission.

Sometimes, refractive index (RI) and specific gravity (SG) readings alone won’t identify gemstones. More often than not, you’ll need a spectroscope to make a final determination. In a few cases, you can make identifications solely with this fundamental piece of gemological lab equipment. (That saves quite a bit of time). This tool is also a great asset for examining rough gems, when getting RI readings is difficult. Last but not least, sometimes only a spectroscope can distinguish if a gem’s color is natural, dyed, or irradiated.

As with all the other instruments in your gemology lab, practice makes mastery. The more you use your spectroscope, the more you’ll see and the easier it becomes.

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