The first thing you need to do is take a class with the GIA. Education is key when it comes to Gemstone testing.Distance Education costs little to start, it just depends on how far you want to go.
As well as taking a course you need to buy this book and treat it as the Gemstone Bible. Gemstone identification made easy by:ANTOINETTE MATLINS, P.G. & A.C. BONANNO, F.G.A., A.S.A., M.G.A. That is a book nobody should be without especially if you’re considering taking GIA classes.
It must have a black housing “Case” not chrome or gold since black casing prevents a distorted view as long as you are using a triplet X10 magnifier. If the Loupe is not Triplet you may as well throw it in the trash. A cheap Loupe which does not show the true Gem, shows a distorted view.
One main thing to memorize is “Gemstone Finger printing”. Most gemstones have their very own fingerprint per gem type. Like Peridot - it has what is called a Lilypad inclusion. Many Ceylon Sapphires have a disc-like inclusion referred to as halos. These are small fractures and they are also seen in Garnets.
2 Dark field Loupe
This is another tool – it will attach to a standard maglite and detects the flash effect in filled Diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds stuffed with resin or epoxy. It will show other internal characteristics in gemstones you need when on the road and cannot test.
3. Chelsea Filter
A Chelsea filter is very good to have, its used for testing Gems to confirm what something is not. Chelsea were used to seperate Aquamarine and natural zircon but today there are many synthetics that will pass with this tool. It is not as dependable as it once was but it can be used for other colored Gems like telling the difference in real and synthetic Sapphires, Spinels from Sapphires, Aquamarine, Jade from Jadeite (Many confused Gems).
A costly mistake can be prevented using this tool correctly. Calcite Dichroscope. Make sure you buy this type and not a Polarizing Dichroscope. A Chelsea Filter and Calcite Dichroscope can help many buyers or sellers distinguish one stone from another. A very small tool – dichroscope will show two small blocks at the end of the tube as looking into a stone and show two different colors. Another issue is the user needs to know what colors to look for.
So basically those four tools can help to identify gemstones out in the field.
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There are a lot of gemology schools besides GIA. There are smaller but very good schools in smaller and larger colleges and universities, and there are other good gemology schools. The ISG has a well respected diploma for about $1,500. Google the words - Free Gemology - and you will get many sites, Barbara Smigel has a nice Intro to Gemology for free, and Gemologyonline com is quite good. Like Jovial1 said, the program called Gemology Tools for about $70 is very worth it, tons of information, even quizzes, you can learn a lot form it. You can study the free courses and sites and learn a lot, you can also take courses and get a certificate, or diploma.
Another handy tool is a decent long wave UV light. The light will cause most synthetic corundum to glow orangy red, and it will cause a good quality Burmese ruby to glow a nice pinky red. The light can also help to identify many other stones too.
The best advice here is education, education and more education. With so many different gemstones, the book will be your best collecting partner. I highly recommend purchasing a copy of Gem Tools Professional software once you are comfortable using your identification tools. Invest in quality tools the first time… or be like me and flunk your gem course until you buy decent tools. :-) I now have great tools in the shop and a set for the field.
Hi Mason2912, if the 2 frames are filled with different colors it cannot be glass because having 2 frames with different colors indicates a DR gemstone where glass is SR
If the 2 frame in dichroscope are filled with the color of the stone your looking at, does that mean its trulely that type your looking at? Or could it be colored glass?