Understanding Gemstone Identification
Gemstones come in various colors and shapes, and their identification is an essential aspect of the gemstone industry. Gemstone identification is the process of determining the type of gemstone based on its physical and optical properties. This process is essential for the valuation of gemstones, and it requires specialized knowledge, training, and equipment.
Physical Properties of Gemstones
Gemstones have physical properties that are unique to each type of gemstone. These properties include color, clarity, refractive index, specific gravity, and hardness. The physical properties of gemstones are used to identify the type of gemstone and differentiate it from other gemstones.
Color: The color of a gemstone is one of the most important factors in gemstone identification. The color of a gemstone is determined by the chemical composition and impurities present in the gemstone.
Clarity: The clarity of a gemstone refers to the number and size of inclusions or blemishes present in the gemstone. Clarity is determined using a 10x magnifying loupe.
Refractive Index: The refractive index of a gemstone is the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to its speed in the gemstone. This property is used to determine the gemstone's identity.
Specific Gravity: The specific gravity of a gemstone is its density compared to the density of water. Specific gravity is determined using a hydrostatic balance.
Hardness: The hardness of a gemstone is its resistance to scratching. The hardness of a gemstone is determined using the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.
Gemstone Identification Techniques
Gemstone identification involves various techniques, including visual examination, magnification, spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction. These techniques are used by gemologists and gemstone appraisers to determine the type of gemstone and its value.
Visual Examination: Gemstones are examined visually to determine their color, clarity, and other physical properties.
Magnification: Gemstones are examined under magnification to determine their inclusions and blemishes. This examination is done using a 10x magnifying loupe.
Spectroscopy: Spectroscopy involves examining the light absorption and transmission of a gemstone. This technique is used to determine the chemical composition of the gemstone.
X-ray Diffraction: X-ray diffraction is a technique used to determine the crystal structure of a gemstone. This technique is used to identify gemstones such as diamonds and rubies.
Gemstone identification is an essential aspect of the gemstone industry. It requires specialized knowledge, training, and equipment to accurately identify the type of gemstone and determine its value. The practice of identifying gemstones requires years of specialized training and certification. At Hériter Gems we believe in providing our clients with all the the resources needed to feel comfortable with their purchase and to that end provide access to a Geological Institute of America (GIA) Certified Graduate Gemologist (GG).
Academic Sources for Gemstone Identification:
Gemology by Cornelius S. Hurlbut and Robert C. Kammerling
Handbook of Gem Identification by Richard T. Liddicoat
Gems by Michael O'Donoghue
Gemmological Instruments by Peter G. Read
Gemmology Today by Cathy Chiu