With so many new synthetics and treatments in the gem market, ordinary jewellers or even traditional jewellers cannot depend on their own experience to differentiate between the new synthetic or new treatment. A new breed of educated jewellers or qualified gemologists is required to help jewellers carry out their trade more effectively.
A gemologist is someone who studies gems and jewellery scientifically, identifies them and can judge the elements of their beauty and value as well as communicate ethically to others.
The subject of gemology is a mixture of various disciplines of science from geology and mineralogy to the technical knowledge about gems. A gemologist also makes use of a microscope, refractometer, spectroscope, etc, for identification. The recordings of each instrument help the gemologist to analyse and draw conclusions.
For instance, a gemologist checks the internal inclusions of the gemstone with a microscope to identify whether the gemstone is a natural or synthetic gem, or possibly the country of origin of the particular gem.
Without inclusions, a gemologist has no proof to establish the genuineness of the gemstones. Sometimes a more advance technique such as X-ray flourescence, infra-red spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, etc., is required to assist in the identification.
Like any other scientific field, a gemologist needs to keep abreast with the latest developments through books, journals and attending conferences around the world. A technique called Proton Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) on gemstones involves bombarding the gem sample with proton particles. X-ray emitted from the sample are tabulated in a spectrum showing the trace elements of the particular gemstones. This method was a breakthrough in the field of gemology. This technique helps gemologists to identify the type, origin and also separate the natural from the synthetic gemstones.
With advance development in the field of synthetic stones and the process of enhancement in gemstones, modern jewellers have to work closely with qualified gemologists in order to buy and sell and also offer sound advice to their clientele.
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