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 best aproach is to turn the stone so it will show maximum curvature. The simplest way to find an interference figure is to rotate the stone under the polariscope, in every possible direction, while looking down the analyzer until one sees a small flash of colors appear on the surface of the gemstone.

This position is known as the “crossed position”. With a stone of known optic sign you can determine that yourself though. The latter is a setup that transforms your microscope into a polarizing microscope, at low cost, with the great benefit of magnification. With some small additions, one can determine both optic character and the optic sign of a gemstone.

At the same time the colored rings in the 1st and 3rd quadrants will move inward.

These colors will change when a full wave plate is inserted. It is vital that you insert the wedge in this direction and at that angle or you will not get the results illustrated in the next two images.

The same fracture in a pink sapphire between crossed polars. With the aid of a few polarizing sheets one can turn the gemological microscope into a polarizing microscope for less than USD When polariscoope hovers the wedge back and forth over the image, you will see the isochromes moving away and back.


When the slow ray leaves the gem, the fast ray would have already traveled an extra distance outside the gemstone. Using an immersion cell along with the polariscope may enable you to find the flash figures more rapidly.

When you observe this image carefully, you will notice that the curve endpoints are at the right. This means that the crystal structure spirals either to the un or to the right along the direction of the optic axis, resulting in the typical “bull’s-eye” under the conoscope.

That is what is named a “bull’s eye” and is typical for quartz both z and synthetic. Not many gemstones will show this image. When the biaxial interference figure is laterally turned, the isogyres detach and transform into hyperboles.

For righthanded people this setup is probably best as one needs a steady hand to hover the quartz wedge.


Most of the time, you will see only one of the isogyres at one time. The arrow is not actually on the wedge, it is there to show the direction of motion.

In uniaxial stones, the “melatope” indicates fielld center of the dark cross and is the direction of the optic axis you are looking down the optic axis. He constructed the first ones from the clear boxes in which the OPL spectroscopes are shipped in. For clarity the nomenclature of interference figures should be understood. An anisotropic gemstone can have one direction or two in which it will stay dark polariscpoe lateral rotation.

Here the curvature is easily seen datk from that we know where the other melatope is located. When you don’t know the orientation of the polarizer and the analyzer of your polariscope, all you need to do is look at the cross in the uniaxial interference figure.

With the quarter wave inserted the Airy Spirals spiral to the right. Plastic simulators are available and even cellophane the florist wraps flowers in can act as a quarter wave plate.

The first or atleast the first reported one who used these polystyrene plastic simulated quartz wedges was Pat Daly, FGA from England. All images below are fleld images with the conoscope in place. Many polariscopes for gemological purposes come with a rather large conoscope that can be swivelled like a gemstone holder.


At other times, the isogyre is a very fuzzy hyperbole which gives the same troubles. Determining the optic sign in anisotropic gemstones should pose few problems with the aid of one of the retardation plates. This indicates a negative optic sign under the above conditions.

Polariscope – The Gemology Project

If you now move the wedge back from quadrant 1 to 3, the reverse is observed. The length of the roll is the fast ray, the cutting edge is the direction of the slow ray. That is the direction indicated by the arrow. The quadrants 1 and 3 clearly have a shift of color to blue. Most gemologists use it to quickly determine if the stone at hand is isotropic or anisotropic or, at best, to determine the optic character of gemstones.

Alot of the following discussion involves such a setup, although most of it can be achieved with the usual gemological polariscope aswell. This setup will give you a polariscope with the great benefit of magnification and you will find interference figures much easier to interpret.

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. This cellophane may work as a quarter wave plate.

This can help us determine optic sign in gemstones. Biaxial minerals have two optic axes, hence they have two “melatopes” ni are in the center or the isogyres.