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 can determine optic character from part of the conoscopic image. In gemology, we use a conoscope a anx free acrylic or glass sphere on a rod to determine optic character uniaxial or biaxial in anisotropic gemstones. Luckely one can now buy inexpensive around USD These colors will change when a full wave plate is inserted. The fast ray travels in the direction of the length of the plate.

Now, while still looking through the analyzer, you should see the color flash transform into a rounded 2-dimensional image. This indicates a uniaxial gem with 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. With the aid of a few polarizing sheets one can turn the polariwcope microscope into a polarizing microscope for less than USD This shift can either be to the left or to the right.


With the quarter wave inserted the Airy Spirals spiral to the right. The same fracture in a pink sapphire between crossed polars.


The conoscope creates a 2-dimensional image of the 3-dimensional interference in a mineral. This enables us to distinguish between solid and negative crystal inclusions and many other internal features a gemstone might have. With the polarizer and analyzer in crossed position, turn on the light source and place oplariscope gemstone on the rotating platform just above the polarizer this platform might not always be present, in which case you use your tweezers.

Photos courtesy of John Huff, gemcollections. Because the fast ray travels faster through the gemstone it will be ahead of the slow ray. Ideally, a biaxial gemstone will show both isogyres in one image, but alas that is not always the case. Older models were created with microscopically oriented crystals of iodoquinine sulfate herapathite or tourmaline plates. Plastic simulators are available and even cellophane the florist wraps flowers in can act as a quarter wave plate.

When the biaxial interference figure is laterally turned, the isogyres detach and transform into hyperboles.

Polariscope – The Gemology Project

In two, opposite, quadrants they will move outward while in the polaariscope quadrants they will move inwards. The small drops act like polarsicope conoscopes and when applied correctly, you will have an extra hand free the one that usually holds the conoscope. 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.


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. The first 3 behaviors should pose no problems for the inexperienced user, but the latter ADR can be misinterpreted and cause one to think the stone is double refractive.

The quadrants 1 and 3 clearly have a shift of color to blue. This indicates a negative optic sign under the above conditions. In some cases you will see an image resembling what the GIA calls a “bowtie”. You will find the interference flashes more easily in certain circumstances. The wedge is not llight 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.

No knowledge of “2V” or “numerical aperture” is needed for our discussion. That area is divided into 4 quadrants. That isn’t very important, just make sure you adjust the position of fkeld wedge or any other wave plate accordingly. Such a setup should fiekd cost you more than USD

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