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 crosses indicate the vertical and horizontal alignments also indicated by the white lines. For righthanded people this setup is probably best as one needs a steady hand to hover the quartz wedge. The above typical images may not be seen as a whole or very sharply at times, polariscops don’t be alarmed.

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.

Remember that uniaxial minerals have one optic polsriscope while biaxial gemstones have two optical axes. Through a series of calculations, it is shown that this retardation is dependent on the thickness and birefringence of the gemstone.


Quadrants 1 and 3 turn more or less blue here addition of color occurredij in quadrants polariscopd and 4 the colors change to predominantly yellow-orange here subtraction occurred.

When the stone is placed between two polarizing filters a polariscopethe two rays combine at the analyzer and either interfere with each other or cancel each other out, depending upon whether the rays are in phase or out of phase.

Using an immersion cell along with the polariscope may enable you to find the flash figures more rapidly. At other times, the isogyre is a very fuzzy hyperbole which gives the same troubles. This indicates right-handed quartz.

This enables us to distinguish between solid and negative crystal inclusions and many other internal features a gemstone might have. The first or atleast the first reported one who used these polystyrene plastic simulated quartz wedges was Pat Daly, FGA from England.

The colored concentric fringes are named “isochromes”. These plastic plates can be used in conjunction with the standard polariscope or with an adapted gemological microscope where polarizing filters are placed just above the light source at the base and just below the optics you can use tape to hold them in place.


This means that the wedge can be used as a quarter wave plate aswell as a full wave plate. In this image, both the two isogyres are visible.

Polariscope – The Gemology Project

This ligh caused by the magenta color of the full wave plate under crossed polars the color in natural daylight is transparent white. Polarscope produces the typical interference colors. Inserted full wave plate creates blue colors on the convex sides of the isogyres and yellow on the concave sides. Simply lay one of the sheets over the transmitting lightsource and tape the other one in crossed position below the optics or find your own way of doing something similar.

pollariscope This indicates a negative optic sign under the above conditions. This means that the crystal structure spirals lght to the left or to the sark along the direction of the optic axis, resulting in the typical “bull’s-eye” under the conoscope. Pay attention only to the reaction of the forward motion. This means the stone has a positive optic sign. Luckely one can now buy inexpensive around USD All images below are conoscopic images with the conoscope in place.

Because there may be more than one direction in which some gemstones remain dark, it is useful as a confirmation to view the stone under a different angle when it stays dark.

Although determining the optic character with a conoscope is a fairly easy procedure, finding the interference figure itself is not. This will create an addition in color on the Newton Color Scale.

This cellophane may work as a quarter wave plate. This setup will give you a polariscope with the great oplariscope of magnification and you will find interference figures much easier to interpret. For convenience, the image at the left has the area polarscope interest marked, which is the area just around the center of the interference figure the white circle. Alot of the following discussion involves such a setup, although most of it can be achieved with the usual gemological polariscope aswell.

If the isochromes move towards the other melatope the one that is outside the viewpolariscopr stone is biaxial with a positive optic sign. In the latter case, the fast ray of the cellophane is in the direction of the roll. It can be very hard to see what the concave and the convex sides of the isogyres are.


With a stone of known optic sign you can determine that yourself though. Here the wedge is removed for illustration. Then if a mineral with a retardation of nm is added, and if the slow ray of the gemstone aligns with the slow ray of the added mineral, the starting color would be blue at nm instead of magenta.

An anisotropic gemstone can have one direction or two in which it will stay dark throughout lateral rotation. Partially healed fracture fingerprint in a pink sapphire. 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.

With the polarizer and analyzer in crossed position, turn on the light source and place the gemstone on the rotating im just above the polarizer this platform might not always be present, in which case you use your tweezers. When the biaxial interference figure is laterally turned, the isogyres detach and transform into hyperboles. The wave plate creates yellow 1st order colors on the convex sides and 2nd order blue on the concave sides of the isogyres. Now, while still looking through the analyzer, you should see the color flash transform into a rounded 2-dimensional image.

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. If the stone becomes noticeably lighter, it means the gemstone is single refractive and is exhibiting ADR. Hover it back and forth over the interference pattern, but pay attention only to the change in the forward direction. The latter is a setup that transforms your microscope into polarixcope polarizing microscope, at low cost, with the great benefit of magnification.