Feature Gems & Gemology, Spring 2003, Volume 39, No. 1

Photomicrography for Gemologists

Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Many areas in the jewelry industry—education, gemological research, lecturing, publication, and laboratory and inventory documentation, to name a few—either require or benefit from high-quality photomicrography. This article reviews the basic requirements of gemological photomicrography and introduces new techniques, advances, and discoveries in the field. Proper illumination is critical to obtaining the best possible photomicrographs of gemological subjects, as is the cleanliness of the photomicroscope and the area around it. Equally as important is an understanding of the features one sees and the role they might play in the identification process. This article is dedicated to Dr. Edward J. Gübelin, one of the great pioneers of gemological photomicrography and the first gemologist to truly appreciate the unparalleled beauty of gems in nature’s microcosm.