CIBJO releases Gemmological Special Report: considers process of separating measurable facts from opinion; See Gemological Articles below.
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 Post subject: Digital Refractometer - Soliciting Input
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:27 am 
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We have just completed the optical design for our digital refractometer and I am writing the patent(s) right now. The core code for the microprocessor is being done, and we are now in the user interface, feature set specification. I thought I'd give folks a chance to input their desires in this type of instrument and tell me what features that they might like or think would be useful. We should have prototypes ready by the end of spring.

This will be a portable, battery and wall operated device with an LCD screen. It has an internal database of RI's and dispersion values which will be matched to probable candidates detected. The sensor has a .001 accuracy.

We have dual light sources so we'll be generating dispersion readings as well. A usb port is in the instrument that will allow you to export readings to a memory stick and import them into desktop programs like excel. Updates can be made via memory stick for both code and database.

I thought a feature that would allow you to set an RI, as for ruby, and then test each stone in a parcel would be useful. Then as you run each stone from the parcel through the unit, and it hits a spinel, it beeps, thus allowing fast verification and elimination of the "ringers". The range will be 1.50 - 3.0 in R.I. It should not be affected by quality of polish... I think and would like it to be able to handle rough as well, but further testing will be required for that.

I recall others wanting a nib like the jemmeter for stones with prongs.. would you want multiple readings with an average? Ability to input identifying information? Indicators for rotating the stone for bifringence and trifringence measurements?

We will price this between $700 - $950 retail at our current estimates.

Let me know what you'd like, and i'll see about putting it in.. thanks for all your help in advance..

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:58 am 
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WOW! I had no idea you were working on a digital refractometer! (Did I miss the thread?)

I am very excited to hear all about it - especially if it has the features that you are describing! Will it have any of the drawbacks that the Jemeter Digital 90 and the Gemmeter have encountered, or is this a totally different product? They cannot compare to a refractometer - will your product take the place of a refractometer?

I would certainly be willing to test drive it for you! I own a Jemeter Digital 90 and a GIA refractomer and I use both of them on a regular basis while doing appraisals.

I'd better start saving my pennies - this sounds promising!


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 Post subject: Digi RI
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:49 am 
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Hi Snizzy.. No, no missed threads, couldn't really announce this before we got to this point, so it's floating under the radar till I could get the patents filed. The jemmeter only measures the proportional reflectance of the facet surface and infer's the RI from the amount of light reflected from the facet. The RI of the gem determines how much of that light illuminates the Cadmium Sulfide sensor. So it's really an inferred proportional RI, with all the attendant problems with that..

We actually measure the angle :) ! So to answer your question, yes, I am designing this to take the place of the optical refractometer. Theoretical accuracy of the instrument is .0003 +/- .0001 so we'll round it to .001 and no one has to republish their tables.. the question is the optical resolution and wavelength used, so we have to test that to see how sharp we can get it.

So I think it will inherently much more accurate than the prior electronic systems.

I'll put you on the list for when we do beta testing..

See, this is really a cover for my vice, as now I can bill our corporation for all those "samples" of nice gems i've been picking up and have it subsidized by uncle sam as pretax money.... :lol: but seriously we are doing it to provide a quality product and make money, and this is the first of three planned instruments we are building.

I talked to lots of people in tucson about it, doing some market reserch and the enthusiasm was rather overwhelming... The appraisers I talked to wanted it yesterday and I ended up with a lot of business cards pressed into my hand... so it was encouraging to have that kind of response.

Ah but you have yet to tell me what features you want in it!!

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 Post subject: Re: Digi RI
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:12 am 
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jleb wrote:


Ah but you have yet to tell me what features you want in it!!


Sorry! I was beside myself with excitement after reading your thread and I couldn't think straight!

I am leaving for a 12 hour work day today, but I will think about it and get back to you.

The features that you listed sound fabulous - and also the suggestions that people have given you - especially to be able to read mounted stones and to take the birefringence readings - these are absolutely a must.

I understand why the appraisers wanted it yesterday! Can't wait to beta test this one!!!!!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:07 pm 
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Hi jleb,

Congratulations :smt041
Your digital refractmeter sounds absolutely wonderful.

One question [if it's a dumb question - bear in mind I'm just a beginer] - would your instrument negate the need for RI fluids [I'm VERY allergic to chemicals, and understand the need for such toxic liquids, would probably prevent me from exploring gemology any further].

Either way, I wish you all the success in the world. Well done, I'm very excited for you :lol:

Love gemmsongImage

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:20 pm 
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Hi jleb,

How great would that be!! I, too, would prefer not to play with the RI fluid (although it does smell good :wink: ).

Sounds as though you've covered the major features ... the only other thing would be to have it make popcorn for us :lol: .

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:52 pm 
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What an amazing tool!!!!
If it's that effective gemologists will be clambouring to get one!


Last edited by Lukeness on Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:13 pm 
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no need for fluids on this one... so it's non-toxic..

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:36 am 
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It does sound amazing. Is it only for stones with flat facets or for cabs / beads too?

Cant wait to hear what else is in the pipeline!

Lucy


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:37 am 
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Since you are measuring the angle - would this work for stones that aren't transparent?

The toughest stones to get readings on are the translucent and opaques - such as jade, nephrite, calcedony, etc., etc., and the hardest stones to read are the bead shaped and cabs - as you have to rely on the spot readings.

Will this machine take the RI's on these types of stones as well?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:05 pm 
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We have to do hands on testing for those two.. beads have a curved surface so they act like a dispersing mirror, beam power will determine the transluescent / opaque stone measurements... again a bench test..

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:07 pm 
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Since this unit will use no RI liquid, does that mean that it will be able to test the RI of gems greater than 1.81?

Since it is measuring the RI, shouldn't rotating the stones and getting several digital readings indicate the birefringence?

How does the unit differ from a reflectivity meter?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:14 pm 
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Barbra Voltaire wrote:
Since this unit will use no RI liquid, does that mean that it will be able to test the RI of gems greater than 1.81?

Since it is measuring the RI, shouldn't rotating the stones and getting several digital readings indicate the birefringence?

How does the unit differ from a reflectivity meter?



The RI range is 1.50 to 3.0 with no RI liquid. So it will get everything.. if we need to test something below 1.50 please let me know..

Rotating the stones to get the ordinary and extraordinary ray is part of the design. Rotational indicators and prompts to do so are part of the design, so you shoot one reading, rotate, hit the button and the next reading is taken. How many would you like? I could also put in a feature where you could do several readings and generate the average and deviation as well. Not sure this would be useful though..


The difference is that the reflectivity meters use the proportion of the light reflected as an indicator of the R.I. As such any surface irregularities, bad polish or anything intefering with the quantity of light being reflected off the facet introduces errors. Our method does not depend on the quantity of light, but the actual angle that the light bends at due to the R.I. So it's much like your optical instruments, without the nasty liquid and the upper limitations. That's about as much information I can give on how we do it without going into proprietary stuff.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:01 pm 
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I wouldn't mind getting signed up for the beta test too. ;) Sounds like this is a gemologist's dream...


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:17 pm 
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I'd like to sign up for the beta testing too.


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