Gemology books advice

A number of you have mentioned books. One of the main expenses of
starting my business has been classes and books. By this stage, I
have spent thousands on them. That said, what books would you all
recommend? I would be curious to know about gemology books that would
be recommended.

Additional Resources: The Jeweler’s Selected Bibliography


There are countless good books available but the two that have been
used the most over the years from my library are two that I received
from GIA when I took my courses years ago.

1- Handbook of Gem Identification by Richard T. Liddicoat, Jr.

2- Dictionary of Gems and Gemology by Robert M. Shipley

Greg DeMark
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The most useful gemology books that I have are any of Gubelins’
books on characteristic gemstone inclusions. The more recent ones
with full color microphotographs are terribly expensive, but you
might get lucky using one of the used book services of Amazon or
Powell’s in Portland, Or. Powells is a bit on the steep side, but it
is also probably the largest used book store in America. By becoming
familiar with characteristic inclusions you can very often not only
definitively i.d. a stone, but, in some cases, determine where it
probably came from.

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.

Gem Cutting” by John Sinkankas and all of his other books if you
have an interest in lapidary.

Here’s a thought, don’t spend thousands on gemology books just take
the GIA classes. You’ll get the books and experience and get a cert
from them.


what books would you all recommend? I would be curious to know
about gemology books that would be recommended 

For starters, I always recommend a book titled Gem Identification Made Easy (which, of course, never is). That book is a great primer
on the tools and equipment that gemologists use to identify
It also gives great tips on separating naturals from
synthetics and imitations, and from each other. You can find it at
any chain book store, like Barnes & Noble. Keep in mind that this
book is really more of a primer than it is gemologically educational.

A more comprehensive book is the Handbook of Gem Identification, By
Richard T. Liddicoat, one of the most famous gemologists in history.
In it, he outlines a very good step-by step system of gem
identification for conclusive tests. You can only get this from GIA,
as it is published by the GIA Press. Go to and look in
the books and instruments section.

Another good selection is a book titled Guide to Affordale Gemology, by Dr. W. W. Hanneman. This man has designed some ingenious
methods of gem identification that utilize inexpensive items,
materials, liquids and so forth to make gem ID fairly affordable. He
uses heavy liquids to measure specific gravity, an important clue to
a gem’s identity. He also sells some neat filter gels that can aid in
identifying certain blue stones, synthetic emeralds, rubies,
tanzanite, and some others as well. He also co-developed a method of
gauging refractive index by viewing a round brilliant stone in close
proximity to the eye, and gazing at the pattern it makes. He also
designed a very accurate (but very long) SG balance scale that
measures specific gravity very accurately.

Be forewarned, though. Although Dr. Hanneman’s methods are
inexpensive they still require some knowledge of gemology. Even
knowledge of practical gemology may not be enough to go on with his
inventions, so nothing beats good training. He has invented
reflectivity meters that are accurate, but weird. He also offers a
Russian refractometer that is more affordable than GIA’s model, but
I’ve never used one. As with most of his other offerings, I have
found that real gemological training is still required to use them
effectively. He likes to advertise the Guide to Affordable Gemology
book as being for “those who don’t need a diploma to prove that they
can identify gemstones,” but hey, the guy is a PhD. How many diplomas
do you get on that road?

Anyone wishing to contact him for his catalog, books and equipment
should contact him at Hanneman Gemological Instruments P.O. Box 1944,
Granbury, TX 76048

Well, that should be enough to get anyone started. In addition,
anything you can find by Gubelin, Shipley, Liddicoat or Sinkakas on
the subject will be world class. As with the Handbook of Gem
Identification, copies of their more important works can be found on
GIA’s web site. In fact, all of the books I mentioned can be found
there, with the exception of Dr, Hanneman’s. He and GIA don’t get
along very well.

Hi Folks…

I have some experience with Dr. Hanneman…

Basically…his premise is that instead of spending thousands of
dollars on gemological equipment…there is another way, in a lot of

Example…for all of those who cannot afford a darkfield system
for loupe viewing…he has an amazing alternative…

I will second the Doctor’s advice as to “Guide to Affordale Gemology”…

Dr. Hanneman has no email address that I am aware of… So…you
have to communicate with him via snail mail…

If you are at all interested in another way to come at things
gemological… Then contact him…(as the Doc stated)…

Gemological Instruments
P.O. Box 1944, Granbury, TX 76048

Don’t use what you may find on the Internet…because a lot of info
will show him someplace else…but he is in Granbury…

I got his book first… And then ordered a number of things from

Due to a miscalucation…my check to him was $6 short…

He sent the items anyway, noting the shortage…I sent him another

The other thing I’ll mention…

Doc H…refers a lot to Schumann’s “Gemstones of the World”…
Because of it’s tables of gemological …

I understand that there’s a new version of this book coming out late
this year…

Hanneman uses it because of its tables… I’ve seen a couple of the
on-line education folks referring to it also… Schumann is an
incredible mine for data, or, you can use it as an eyeball kind of

This is a book no one into stones should be without…

I have the current one…(until the end of the year, at any

It is a hardcover…and beat up from use again and again and
again… List price is $24.95… Probably better price on Amazon (I
paid $16 back when)…

If you are not one of those fortunate enough to be able to do a GIA
course, and get their texts…

Or…would want a great reference to the World of Gemstones in
general… Smaller hardcover…lots of pictures, and as I
mentioned…gemological …stats, if you would…

Some of the newer stuff…moissanite, for example…has not found
it’s way into the edition available currently…I am hoping the
newest edition will remedy that… I have notes and additions
scribbled throughout mine…

Uhhhh…no ref to green amethyst, but prasiolite is in there…

It will be the best $25 you have ever spent…

Even if it only mentions fire agate, but shows no pictures of it…

I do not know if the new book will be hardcover for sure…But it’s
the only way I myself would have it…

Softcover would die under the use and abuse…

Gary W. Bourbonais
A.J.P. (GIA)