• Clare Thanhauser, GG

What is Gemology? An Introduction


What is Gemology?

Gemology is the scientific study of the gemstones. It uses the unique physical properties of gems to identify and measure each stones correctly, and ascertain its value. In addition to lots of training, a Gemologist has certain tools such as a microscope, refractometer, polariscope and spectrometer to aid the identification process.

Diamond grading is another key function of a Gemologist, as the slight color variations and inclusions in a diamond can dramatically affect its value. Precise measurements and plotting (making a map of the internal characteristics of the individual diamond) are in order before evaluation can begin.

Personally, I was trained at the Gemology Institute of America (GIA) and completed the full Graduate Gemology program in order to offer these services to the public.

Why would I need the services of a Gemologist?

Gemologists can provide documentation that lets the consumer know if their stones are genuine or imitation, as well as whether or not they have received any type of misleading treatment - such as artificial dye, irradiation, or fracture filling to name a few. Once these factors have been assessed a value can be assigned to the piece, for insurance appraisal, resale of family posterity.

What is Gemology?

What is the difference between natural Gemstones and synthetic imitations?

Natural gemstones have a number of desirable characteristics that are unique to each, such as hardness, color, and how the surface interacts with light. Imitation stones are things like glass, plastic or other treated gemstones substituted for the natural gemstone to achieve the same desired look. Examples would include the use blue Plastic instead of natural Turquoise, glass ‘faux’ pearls, or Quartz dyed the color of Ruby. Synthetics are different than imitations, in that they are actual gemstones created in a laboratory, like Cubic Zirconia (CZ) used in place of natural Diamonds- or lab grown Ruby often used in the early 1900s jewelry.

Needless to say natural stones are more desirable and valuable than their imposter counterparts, though many vintage pieces of jewelry that contain Rhinestones or glass still can have significant value if designed by a noted artist.

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