Gems & Gemology, Summer 2015, Vol. 51, No. 2

A Closer Look at the Micro-World of Gems

Nathan Renfro, Elise A. Skalwold, and John I. Koivula
The micro-world of gems lies at the very core of gemology. Information gathered from observations through the microscope serves as the very foundation for many conclusions drawn on a specimen, including identification, treatment detection, separation of natural and synthetic materials, and geographic origin. Even a gem’s genesis and the secrets of Earth’s depths may ultimately be revealed. This inner world waits for gemologists, both new and experienced, to take the time for a closer look, to dive into its depths, and to thoroughly explore its landscape. continual practice, careful observation, and patience will hone both technique and interpretive prowess.
In this series, we invite you to join us for an extended tour through the astounding beauty and variety found in the micro-world of gems and related materials.

Pattern under polarized light.
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Photomicrograph Gallery
Introduction to the Micro-World of Gems - G&G’s new column takes a closer look at the hidden wonders found in gemstones. 
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Amber with Mite Inclusion - An unusual mite is preserved in a 30-million-year old amber specimen. 
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Apatite “Piñata” - A cracked apatite specimen reveals hidden treasure.
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Iridescent Musgravite - A musgravite specimen’s inclusions result in an optical phenomenon unusual for the material. 
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Cat’s-eye Phenakite - Inclusions create chatoyancy in a colorless phenakite cabochon.
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Unusual Pink Sapphire Bead - A pink sapphire bead with drill holes revealing ruby fragments is examined.
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Bicolor Double-Eye Tourmaline - A tourmaline displaying different colors of chatoyancy on opposite sides of a double cabochon is examined.
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