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Colombian Emeralds

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Towards the higher end of the spectrum of gemological tools exists the refractometer, an essential tool for determining the identity of a stone. By measuring the refractive index of a unidentified or suspect stone, a jeweler or gemologist can accurately separate stones that otherwise are very similar in appearance, such as a genuine emerald from green quartz, or even common glass.

One unique advantage of the refractometer over other tools is because it works by measuring the light reflecting off the surface of the material, it works equally well on opaque stones such as jade or opal as it does on transparent gemstones.

Refractometers can be complicated to use to the inexperienced, and analysis using this tool must be performed in a very specific manner, depending on the stone being analyzed. By comparing the results to a table of known reflective indexes, accurate assumptions about the minerals identity can be understood.


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