Assuming that the polarizers are crossed to produce a dark field, the polariscope is then described as a circular dark-field polariscope. the polariscope is changing from a dark-field configuration to a light-field configuration. Photoelasticity is a nondestructive, whole-field, . the polariscope must be arranged so as to allow light .. izer always looks dark because half the light striking. A polariscope uses polarized light for gem identification. is at right angles to the vibrational direction of the analyzer, the field between them remains dark. Throughout a ° rotation the stone blinks 4 times, light and dark.

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The same fracture in a pink sapphire between crossed polars. On the other hand, if in the same example the slow ray of the gemstone would align with the fast ray of the added mineral, there would be a subtraction, and then the starting color would be nm — yellow-orange.

It is vital that you insert the wedge in this direction and at that angle or you will not get the results illustrated in the next two images. Fortunately, modern day technology has created anisotropic plastic substitutes that cost little and can be held between your fingers. The simplest way to find an interference figure is to rotate the stone under the polariscope, in every possible direction, while looking down the analyzer until one sees a small flash of colors appear on the surface of the gemstone.

Luckily this is not too difficult. One can determine optic character from part of the conoscopic image. With monochromatic lighting such as a yellow sodium filter of your refractometerthe interference pattern may stand out more clearly.

This knowledge can be useful in gemology as one could also add another mineral on top of the gemstone to mimic increased thickness and thus create a shift in colors when viewed through the conoscope.

We now insert the simulated quartz wedge over the the stone with the conoscope in place from the most concave side of the isogyre towards the most convex side and we need to observe how the isochromes behave.


A positive optic sign. When above the gemstone, the plate should be placed between the stone and the conoscope. The first 3 behaviors should pose no problems for the inexperienced user, but the latter ADR can be misinterpreted and cause one to think the stone is double refractive. With the quarter wave inserted the Airy Spirals spiral to the right. For the very small spheres one will need magnification to observe the interference figure.


That is what is named a “bull’s eye” and is typical for quartz both natural and synthetic. Quarter wave plates work in a similar way as full wave plates but will produce different images. Some quartz especially amethyst is both right-handed as left-handed due to Brazil twinning. Using an immersion cell along with the polariscope may enable you to find the flash figures more rapidly.

The wedge is not used as such mostly in gemology, instead it is used to hover over an interference pattern and polaroscope determine optic sign by observing the movement of the isochromes. If you are intent on buying a plate, make sure you know how the fast and slow rays are orientated. These plastic plates can be used in conjunction with the standard polariscope or with an lighht gemological microscope where polarizing filters are placed just above lighf light source at the base and just below the optics you can use tape to hold them in place.

Most gemologists use it to quickly determine if the stone at hand is isotropic or anisotropic or, at best, to determine the optic character of gemstones. As the thickness of the gemstone increases, the colors shift toward the right.

No double refraction occurs along the directions of optic axes. Photos courtesy of John Huff, gemcollections. An anisotropic gemstone can have one direction or two in which it will stay dark throughout lateral rotation.


Polariscope – The Gemology Project

The wave plate removed for clearer view this polariiscope for illustration only and will not work in practice. These colors show a distinct pattern as seen in the Newton Color Scale below and, again, depend on the thickness and birefringence of the material.

Views Read View source View history. Inserted full wave plate creates blue colors on the convex sides of the isogyres and yellow on the concave sides.

Hughes also suggested, through personal communication, the use of a small droplet of honey which works very loght. Plastic simulators are available and even cellophane the florist wraps flowers in can act as a quarter wave plate. At the same time the colored rings in the 1st and 3rd quadrants will move inward.

Due to enantiomorphismquartz will give a typical uniaxial image but with a large “target” in the middle.

The polarizing filters of this instrument are made of polarizing plastic sheets polyvinyl alcohol containing dichroic molecules – stretched polymers. Such a setup should not cost you more than USD Other cellophanes like ScotchTape may also work.

In some cases you will see an image resembling what the GIA calls a “bowtie”.

Uniaxial stones have one optic axis, biaxial gemstones have two. Now, while fielx looking through the analyzer, you should see the color flash transform into a rounded 2-dimensional image.

As discussed previously with the full wave plate, the conoscopic image of polwriscope uniaxial stone is divided into 4 imaginary quadrants. With the aid of a few polarizing sheets one can turn the gemological microscope into a polarizing microscope for less than USD Biaxial minerals have two optic axes, hence they have two “melatopes” that are in the center or the isogyres.