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Author:  SueA [ Mon May 04, 2015 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Equipment

Thanks for having me on this very professional forum, which is invaluable to novices like myself.

I'm unemployed and making a late in life career change by starting at the bottom with GIA working towards the Graduate Gemologist using the online learning and Lab days.

The equipment is rather expensive, does anyone know if similar equipment can be purchased else where or second hand?

Also, do you have to purchase your own stones with GIA, and if so where could I get these ?


Author:  Frank [ Tue May 05, 2015 2:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Equipment


I'm not the best person to answer this since I trained with the Gem-A and not the GIA but in essence...yes the equipment is expensive but it's better to buy good quality once than to buy poor quality then have to replace it with decent equipment later.

Most of the equipment is pretty hardy and a good quality second hand microscope / refractometer / spectroscope etc would in my opinion be better than cheap Chinese replacements. It's your choice of course but if it's a hobby buy what you want...If it's a career then buy the best you can afford (even if it's second hand).

I'm not sure and some one else can confirm but I think the GIA send you 20 stones at a time and when you send them back they send you the next twenty...not sure if this is included in the course fees? (It's extra to use the Gem-A stone library) but I have a feeling it's included in the GIA coloured stone course.

Hope this is helpful...welcome to the forum...dive right in and ask questions...also search the site for previous posts on second hand equipment (especially microscopes) prepared for a LOT of reading.


Author:  Barbra Voltaire, FGG [ Tue May 05, 2015 5:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Equipment

Hi Sue and Welcome.
If you have any questions concerning the GIA, like "Where do the stones come from?", just give them a call. They will be happy to answer any question you may have.

Will you be taking the course on campus or by correspondence?
Yes, one can buy reliable equipment 2nd hand. The caveat is that you must be experienced enough with the equipment before buying to know whether or not the 2nd hand stuff IS reliable when it arrives.
I suggest, if taking the classes correspondence, doing the lab work on campus. Learn how to use the instruments. Learn the relevant questions to ask a seller before buying.
Good luck.

Author:  path914 [ Tue May 05, 2015 10:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Equipment

SueA wrote:
Also, do you have to purchase your own stones with GIA, and if so where could I get these ?


Welcome SueA!

No purchase of stones is required for any GIA course. If you intend to take the courses through Distance Education, then a total of 500 stones would be sent to you on loan via mail during the Gem Identification course (not including the final exam). It is only required that you purchase or have access to the equipment necessary to test these stones. You can find the specific list of required equipment in the GIA course catalog or by contacting GIA via email or phone. This equipment does not have to be purchased or manufactured by GIA as long as it performs the necessary functions for the course. You will find that the Admissions Department and/or the DE instructors would be happy to answer any additional questions that you may have regarding the courses offered.

Author:  SueA [ Mon May 11, 2015 5:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Equipment

Thank you, these answers have been a great help and I'm looking forwards to starting the online course in September, and travelling to Labs camps.

Trying to make it a late career change and then go on to make a small living at it here in Ireland.

Bit scared of the science but up for the challenge.

Author:  gemsmithuk [ Mon May 11, 2015 9:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Equipment

You can buy equipment elsewhere that does the trick. The cheap diffraction spectroscopes and calcite dichroscopes are perfectly functional.

The cheap refractometers are hard to use. Gempro and GIA refractometers are easier to use during the course as they closely fit what is needed. e.g. Rayner's are harder to use without an eyepiece. Make sure it doesn't just have an internal yellow light as the course requires the use of white light to. If looking at a secondhand Refractometer, vertical scratches on the prism aren't as much of a problem as horizontal ones. Horizontal scratches can lead you to take an incorrect reading. Don't buy one with a frosted patch on the prism. I disagree with the "buy the best" argument. As a first time user of this type of equipment, you are quite likely to give it some battle scars. I bought a scratched secondhand, used it, sold it on and then bought a better version.

Microscopes? Can of worms. There are many different opinions on this. As long as it has darkfield, overhead and transmitted lighting. 10x to 30x magnification as a minimum and widefield eyepieces, everything else is what you can afford. This is where I would say to push the boat out. It's tricky for a novice to ruin a microscope.

Polariscope: The old Gem A versions are great. Dense filters, lower wattage lights and a whacking great conoscope that makes interference figures easy to see.

Chealsea colour filters are great and not too expensive, so you may as well get the real deal.

Loupe: The best you can afford, but BeLomo do a good 10x.

Lighting. Daylight type flip light is good and an incandescent torch (old style maglite etc.) You can also add a polycarbonate filter to the daylight lamp to cut down on UV.

UV is tricky. Most lights are expensive, but you can find the odd bargain. I found an old GAAJ version for £40 on ebay.

I think that's it. Make the most of balances etc. at the lab classes to get used to them.

Make sure you put what instruments you can in your pocket if you're visiting flea markets, auctions an boot sales. Great practice, and the occasional bargain.

Hope that helps.

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