Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Gem tools

Deia

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
735
Hi all,

I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I'd like to buy a few basic gemstone tools, i.e a loupe, dichroscope, gauge, etc however I am not sure of the best place to buy any of them. I've looked on ebay but I am a bit wary of buying something that is going to take 20 days to get here from Hong Kong. I am in the UK, and although I don't mind getting items shipped from elsewhere, USA is fine as my sister will be coming to visit shortly and she can just bring them over for me, if I could find a place in the UK that sells them for a decent price then that would be easiest.

TIA!
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
Gem-A is the best place in the UK to get equipment. I'm the queen of bargain hunting so I'm afraid the prices are what they are...don't buy the HK stuff as half of it isn't calibrated correctly.

For loupes I personally like Belomo which are around £25 online, I'm not keen on the Gem-A one but it's personal preference.

The only thing that is a PITA is that you can't pay online, but if you call I think you can pay by cc over the phone. They are the main suppliers to some of the big USA equipment places so you may as well go to source in case of any problems.

I'd suggest getting some tweezers (the ones that DON'T lock as they ping stones across the room less often), a folding polariscope and Osram Pocket Dragon light for it - it's very dinky and portable unlike the GIA ones and a LOT cheaper, a calcite dichroscope (London Dichroscopes are cheaper and most people I studied with used them but I prefer calcite myself), a decent light - the Gem-A flexi-light is good.

Unfortunately even 'cheap' equipment isn't exactly cheap but you are best to buy a decent brand to start with and not have to upgrade when you realise you are getting dodgy results (the £50 eBay refractometer v the Gem-A £250 refractometer is a top example - btw, I did months of research before buying my refractometer and even Kassoy in the USA recommended Gem-A's)

For gauges, do you mean scales or calipers? EBay have good digital calipers, for scales I use Tanita which are really accurate. They're over £200, but the £25 cheapy set I had only measured to the nearest 0.05ct which drove me crazy. I then bought a £60 set which have been in for repair twice and so I wish I'd just bought the Tanita straight off!

A good book for learning how to use the kit is Antoinette Maitlin's book on IDing gemstones.

I find a polariscope (plus conoscope) one of the best tools - it will separate SR from DR, synthetic spinel from natural (sometimes) and used with a conoscope will separate quartz and also tell you whether a DR stone is Uniaxial or Biaxial which is very useful for IDing.

Dichroscopes are only so-so useful IMHO, only DR stones show pleochroism and some have a very weak difference. It's very handy for things like separating illite from tanzanite, but it's not my 'reach for' tool - my personal favourite is the diffraction grating spectroscope - Colin Winters produces the OPL range and a great text book.
 

Deia

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
735
Thank you so much Pandora! That's great info, will look them all up tonight! I definitely rather buy something more expensive that I know will work properly. I'm gonna take a look at that book too, sounds great. I have tweezers but I bought the locking kind and of course the first stone I use it on went flying across the room....sigh. Do you mean you can't pay online for Gem A or Belomo?

I need to go as going out to dinner but will post again later today or tomorrow morning. Thanks again, much appreciated.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    Good Customer Service Goes a Long Way
    Good Customer Service Goes a Long Way
    5.5 Carat Diamond Upgrade
    5.5 Carat Diamond Upgrade
    Style File: Julia Roberts
    Style File: Julia Roberts

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top