Cheap and cheerful polariscope

Hello Amber aficionados and Quartz questers,

For rapid elimination of unwanted substitutes when shopping for
amber or quartz beads get a pair of Polaroid sunglasses, the less
tinted the better. Remove one lens and place your sample on it,
preferably with some light below. The lens should be held rotated to
90 degrees from the one you are wearing, the lens darkens and
occludes when you get the correct angle. Now rotate your sample.

Glass will not do anything but quartz and almost all other gems will
wink at you as they turn. The common gems that won’t wink are
diamond, spinel, fluorite and opal so that should not be a problem.

Amber is my number one favourite stuff to look at with a polariscope
especially if something died in it. The strain lines produce amazing
patterns and they all appear to start moving in different directions
as you rotate the stone. Swedish amber is instantly revealed by the
now clearly defined joins showing the pieces fused together and of
course any dead things that have no swirling strain lines around
them must have been dead before they got inside. Some specimens of
included amber can reach into the thousand$ so it is nice to be able
to easily and quickly verify it. Resin with amber chips show up
quickly as the resin usually has no lines but the chips do.
Reconstituted amber has barely discernable lines and they are
usually even.

Some dealers object to buyers putting buckets of salt water on their
display cases and dunking the merchandise so for those unreasonable
dealers use a pair of sunglasses.