Gemstones are precious materials that should be handled with the utmost care. Proper handling techniques can make the difference between hanging onto your gemstones or spending hours scouring the floor to find them. What’s the secret to handling gems securely?
Whether you’re starting a new gemstone business
or an expert seeking a quick refresh, read on for the most important tips and tools for handling gemstones.
Setting Up Your Environment
Did you know that one of the most important aspects of working with gems is where you’ll be handling them? That's right. Your environment is vital when it comes to working with gemstones. Like leaving a bottle of wine on the kitchen counter, or keeping a sun-reliant plant in a shady corner, atmosphere influences gemstones. Here’s what you need to know for setting up your workspace:
To ensure gemstones have proper conditions, there are a few factors to address. So, what are these very specific conditions that must be in place for gems to thrive? Let's get into them!
First, we recommend having a dedicated room for working with your gems. Inside the room, the lighting should be very vibrant. Bright white light is better for gems than subtle or warm yellow light. If the room doesn’t already have neutral walls, go ahead and paint them an earthy, soft tone. Colors like beige or off-white are excellent choices for the walls. This will allow the light to illuminate the space in a way that’s conducive to gemstones.
Now that we've mentioned the importance of bright light and neutral walls, let's talk about flooring. Dropping gemstones is inevitable, especially among beginners. To best handle tiny, expensive objects like a diamond
, you want a floor that won't hide them from you.
Unfortunately, when a gem falls it can be a struggle locating it. You'll have no way of knowing where the gem is, and it might take you a considerable amount of time to pinpoint it. Do you think it would be easier to find a gemstone that has fallen onto a hardwood floor or carpet?
In our experience, carpet makes everything more difficult. The fact is, you’re less likely to locate a dropped gem when it falls on carpet than a hard surface. You’ve only got a 20% chance of finding a fallen gemstone in shaggy carpet
. While carpet with shorter threads will simplify your search, your odds aren’t much better as you’ll only find a gem half of the time.
On the other hand, hard flooring won’t conceal your gemstone as much making your search much easier. You might think hard floors would cause damage to the gem? It depends on the gemstone's hardness ranking. That’s why it’s crucial to work on your handling technique.
Tips and Tricks for Handling Gems Securely
It’s natural to feel like dropping gems is part of your routine. Though the odds seem invariably against you, there are tips and techniques to equip you with a (mostly) unwavering hand.
One of the simplest things you can do is employ tweezers as your go-to tool. While tweezers in some regards make your job easier, they can also be the catalyst for a drop. That’s why it’s paramount to choose the right kind of tweezers. There are two main types of tweezers for handling gems securely:
- Locking tweezers
- Soldering tweezers
Can you predict which type of tweezers are better for handling gems? If so, kudos! If not, no sweat, we’re here to help. Let's dive further into both types of tweezers to reveal which one is best for handling gems safely.
Which Tweezers Are Best For Handling Gems?
Did you guess locking tweezers? Then you were right on the money! Locking tweezers are the absolute best tool for handling gems securely. Since locking tweezers lock in place, you have full control over how tight you hold the gems. With these tweezers, you can rest assured that you won't damage or drop the gemstone while handling it.
*Image Credit -
The Gemmological Association of Australia
Whatever your gemstone requirements are, we strongly advise you against using soldering tweezers. But tweezers are tweezers, right? Not exactly. In the world of gemstones, the kind of tools you use makes all the difference. In essence, the right tools will assist you as you work. Conversely, the wrong tools can damage your materials.
The fact is, the style of tweezers you use is incredibly important. So, why mention soldering tweezers if they’re on the naughty list of tools to use? Because many people make the mistake of using them. What’s important to know is that soldering tweezers contain a spring tension, which makes them very strong and powerful. This can be effective and even necessary in certain jewelry-making scenarios. Yet when it comes to handling gems, you don't want to have a lot of force behind your tweezers. Can you guess why? The likelihood of damaging the gemstone or dropping it increases.
So, we’ve clarified that locking tweezers are a choice tool, are there any other tips for handling gems securely? You bet!
How To Safely Pick Up and Handle Gems
The first thing to do is lay the gem flat on the table, upside down. Now you can use your locking tweezers to grab the gem by the girdle (the widest part of the gem). In addition to locking tweezers, you can also try a stone holder to help you pick up the gem. Stone holders are particularly helpful when passing the gem to another worker or assistant.
The best way to handle gems securely is the way that works best for you! If you are starting, use these tips to avoid frustration from mishandling gemstones. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at handling gems securely.
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