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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A few hours of practise should be enough to master this technique and it may come in very handy when you can perform little other tests. All images below are conoscopic images with the conoscope in place. This will create an addition in color on the Newton Color Scale. With the quarter wave inserted the Airy Spirals spiral to the left. dxrk

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. The dark polaiscope is actually made up of two L-shaped “isogyres” that will always stay in the same position in uniaxial stones.

Some stones in this category are ruby, red spinel and red garnets. This image in uniaxial stones will appear different from the image in biaxial stones, each having its own characteristic pattern.

Polariscope – The Gemology Project

When you observe this image carefully, you will notice that the curve endpoints are at the right. One can determine optic character from part of the conoscopic image. When above the gemstone, the plate should be placed between the stone and the conoscope. 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. That extra distance is known as “retardation” and is measured in nm nanometers. If the stone becomes noticeably lighter, it means the gemstone is single refractive and is exhibiting ADR. Some quartz especially amethyst is both right-handed as left-handed due to Brazil twinning.

This produces the typical interference colors. This shift can either be to the left or to the right.

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.

When the slow ray of the gemstone and the slow ray of the added mineral align, the shift will polarisfope to jn right. You will find the interference flashes more easily in certain circumstances. With some small additions, one can determine both optic character and the optic sign of a gemstone. With the aid of a few polarizing sheets one can turn the gemological microscope into a polarizing microscope for less than USD In the direction marked “slow”, the slow ray of the wave plate travels.

Because anisotropic minerals appear to be single refractive when viewed down the optic axis, another technique for finding the optic axis can be used. When one hovers the wedge ln and forth over the image, you will see the isochromes moving away and back. For biaxial stones this technique becomes more difficult as one needs to find or the maximum curvature of the isogyres, or know where the 2 melatopes are. These plates are tradionally made from thin sheets of mica with a retardation of approx.


For the very small spheres one will need magnification to observe the interference figure. It should be noted that this image is an ideal one two isogyres seenwhich is rarely the case.

Typical uniaxial image Typical uniaxial image of quartz bull’s eye Typical biaxial image. No an of “2V” or “numerical aperture” is needed for our discussion.


Plastic simulators are available and even cellophane the florist wraps flowers in can act as a quarter wave plate. 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.

View the stone under the polariscope from all sides to find where the gemstone does not blink light and dark on lateral rotation. Although these images show perfect computer generated interference patterns, one can easily find the optic sign on a partial image.

One doesn’t need a retardation plate to observe the latter. A positive optic sign.

When the isochromes move away from the other, out of view, melatope, the stone is biaxial with a negative optic sign. It can be very hard to see what the concave and the convex sides of the isogyres are.

The first or atleast the first reported one who used these polystyrene plastic simulated quartz wedges was Pat Daly, FGA from England. Quartz is a special case in conoscopy as it is an enantiomorphic mineral. This indicates a negative optic sign. A polariscope uses polarized light for gem identification.

Alot of the following discussion involves such a setup, although most of it can be achieved with the usual gemological polariscope aswell. Although this indicates a biaxial optic character, the optic sign is very hard to obtain from this.

Not many gemstones will show this image. In this position, gems can be tested to determine if they are: The real challenge however is finding the interference figure. In this image, both the two isogyres are visible. This is caused by the magenta color of the full wave plate under crossed polars the color in natural daylight is transparent white.