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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One just above the lightsource and the other just below the optics. The interference figures always appear around the optic axes of minerals.

Buy two polarizing sheets 50 x 50 mm and tape them in crossed position on your microscope. Quadrants 1 and lolariscope turn more or less blue here addition of color occurredwhile in quadrants 2 and 4 the colors change to predominantly yellow-orange here subtraction occurred.

The plates should be placed directly under or directly above the gemstone.


Sometimes it is very hard to find interference figures. Some stones in this category are ruby, red spinel and red garnets. Dichroscope Return to the Table of Contents. This cellophane may work as a quarter wave plate. Retardation plates as those added minerals are known have a known retardation, and the vibrational directions of the kn and fast rays are known.

Some quartz especially amethyst is both right-handed as left-handed due to Brazil twinning.

Both the polarizer and the analyzer have their own vibrational planes. The quadrants 1 and 3 clearly have a shift of color to blue. Because the fast ray travels faster through the gemstone it will be ahead of the slow ln.

Here the isochromes in the 1st and 3rd quadrants will move out and the isochromes in the 2nd and 4th will move abd. Colors on convex and concave sides are of 1st order gray. When light enters an anisotropic double refractive gemstone, it is split into two rays — a fast ray and a slow ray.


For righthanded people this setup is probably best as one needs a steady hand to hover the quartz wedge. The small drops act like tiny conoscopes and when applied correctly, you will have an extra hand free the one that usually holds the conoscope. This will create an addition in color on the Newton Color Scale. Photos courtesy of John Huff, gemcollections. As real quartz wedges are very expensive, small and mainly made for use in petrographical microscope this technique was not practised a lot by gemologists.

Polariscope – The Gemology Project

The polariscope may be one of the most underestimated tools in gemology. This setup will give you a polariscope with the great benefit of magnification and you will find interference figures much easier to interpret.

Also notice that the dark cross the isogyres now have a magenta color. We concentrate on the areas just around the melatopes, indicated by the white circle around the melatope in the top right isogyre. Because anisotropic minerals appear to be single refractive when viewed down the optic axis, another technique for finding the optic axis can be used.

With the quarter wave inserted the Airy Spirals spiral to the left. If the isochromes move towards the other melatope the one that is outside the viewthe stone is biaxial with a positive optic sign. This indicates left-handed quartz.

One can determine optic character from part ifeld the conoscopic image.

As a result it will not show the typical bull’s-eye but a combination of the left and right Airy Spirals 4 spirals in total under the conoscope. This may look very much like the classical bull’s-eye in facetted stones, especially when the optic axis cuts through small facets. Inserted full wave plate creates blue colors on the convex sides of the isogyres and yellow on the concave sides.


It can be very hard to see what the concave and the convex sides of the isogyres are. Here the interference pattern has the isogyres in the lower right and upper left, but they could be in the lower left and upperright aswell. The above typical images may not be seen fild a whole or very sharply at times, but don’t be alarmed.

The wedge is not used as such mostly in gemology, instead it is used to hover over an interference pattern and to determine optic sign by observing the movement of the isochromes. With practice you will be able to recognize oight more rapidly. When you don’t know the orientation of the polarizer and the analyzer of your polariscope, all you need to do is look at the cross in the uniaxial interference figure.

Uniaxial stones have one optic axis, biaxial gemstones have two. With some small additions, one can determine both optic character and the optic sign of a gemstone.

Darj best aproach is to turn the stone so it will show maximum curvature. When the slow ray of the gemstone and the fast ray of the added mineral align, the shift will be to the left and will create a subtraction in color. The distance between the two melatopes is dependent on the “2V” value of the mineral. The dish should be placed between the crossed polars.

Although these images show perfect computer generated interference polarkscope, one can easily find the optic sign on a partial image.

If you are intent on buying a plate, make xark you know how the fast and slow rays amd orientated. A positive optic sign. Remember that uniaxial minerals have one optic axis while biaxial gemstones have two optical axes.