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What Gem Testing Tools are Essential for a Gemmologist

For me, the essentials of any gemmology testing tools start with the hand-held instruments. These smaller items are portable and often come with their own storage, which means they travel well in a backpack or suitcase.

A Reliable 10x Loupe
We all know the importance of  jewelry loupes but there are some things to consider. You should ideally look for a loupe that is described as having an achromatic and aplanatic lens. Aplanatic means that the view is distortion free; even at the edges of your loupe there should be no blurring or bending of the image. With an aplanatic lens, if you were to place your loupe over gridded paper, the lines would be intact and straight when viewed.

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A Polariscope
My advice would be to choose a portable folding polariscope so that you can quickly tidy it away and move on. A Gem polariscope is important for the testing of transparent and some translucent gemstones, whether they are in the rough, fashioned into jewellery items, or carved into beads and small objects.

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A gemstone spectroscope
The more instruments we have, often the better, because tests can back-up other tests. An ideal gemmology tool kit gives the owner/user the ability to not just test a stone, but also conduct a second or possibly a third test to confirm these findings. In some circumstances we can test material with 10 or more tests and still be unsure! In others, we have a diagnostic answer from a single test… this is one of the things that makes gemmology such a specialist field.

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Good Lighting
Your gemstone testing kit should contain both incandescent and diffused light. A MagLite Compact Solitaire Incandescent Torch, for example, is lightweight and ideal for basic gemmological tests, such as observing colour change, analysing spectra and using colour filters. Next, you will want a portable LED flat light. This is useful for the inspection of rough and cut gemstones and can be used in conjunction with your loupe, a folding polariscope or a dichroscope.


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