Met with Jim Legge of Coppertop Gems yesterday and he brought his
refraction testing gizmo and the stones tested as true. Good.
minor point of nomenclature. It’s a refractometer. It measures the
A simple refraction test can keep me out of trouble? I will know
that a stone is or is not genuine ( although not if it has been
treated), right? If so, I'd like to buy one of these!
The refractive index will help you identify what the material is,
such as quartz versus beryl or corundum, etc. It does not tell you
whether the material is natural verus man made, nor does it identify
treatments. All it does is help to identify what the mineral itself
is. After that, origin, treatments, etc, need other means of
identification. Often, a good microscope is the needed tool.
If you buy one, you will also need to learn how to properly use it.
It’s not a simple idiot proof device where you put the gem in and
push a button and it reads out the identity. It’s not overly
difficult to use either, but you do have to know how to use it. GIA
makes good ones, as well as teaching courses in gem ID which include
teaching the use of the refractometer.
Just a little opinion here. Others may disagree. But if you’re
making your living, or a substantial portion thereof, from the use
and sale of and your customers understandably expect you
to be at least a modest expert in the materials and gems you’re using
and selling, then for my money, I’d think you should see to it that
you’re not disappointing them. Learning gemology little bits at a
time in a haphazard and incomplete way, isn’t do you, or your
customers a lot of good. Better to take proper comprehensive courses
in the subject.
If you go to the doctor for a checkup, do you want it done by a nice
person who watched a doctor do it a few times, had a doctor show him
or her a few of the things to look for, and who read one or two
chapters of a book about such procedures? Or would you rather go to
an actual trained doctor?
If you’re expecting people to view and treat you as a professional,
it seems to me you should try to obtain professional level training.
And yes, I know this isn’t a universally held opinion. The percentage
of jewelers who owe their livelihood to gems, who nevertheless don’t
really know all that much about them, or whose knowledge of gems is
mostly hearsay, including both truth and misconseption and ignorance
all rolled together, is frankly quite astounding. It might be
forgiven that the college girl at the sales counter of the local mall
store who’s there as a seasonal holiday season temp employee, doesn’t
have any training about jewelry, but I find it harder to be that
charitable with people who are longtime career jewelers who
nevertheless seem to think they don’t need to actually know that much
about the stuff they sell. Their ignorance cheats themselves and
their customers, even if not deliberately so.