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 Post subject: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 6:55 pm 
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I already have some tools for identifying gemstones. A 10x loupe, a GemOro scale, a tweezers, a universal specific gravity kit for an electronic scale (I have not used it yet), a polarizscope

Please recommend a penlight for daylight and incandescent light, a magnet, a table lamp that has different colour temperature, a spectrophotometer, a microscope . I don't have a budget for the tools but don't want to spend more than a thousand for a tool. Thank you in advance


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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 8:14 pm 
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Fill in the basics first.

Add to what you already have:

A good quality Refractometer, not cheap chinese one.
Hand held spectrometer OPL is my recommendation
Dichroscope
Chelsea filter
Best microscope you can afford. This will bust your $1,000 per item limit, but is money well spent. Don't go cheap here.
LW/SW UV light box
Fiber optic halogen light source

For a journeyman gem ID lab you should be able to do it with this set of equipment


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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 8:55 pm 
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If you buy used there are some great possibilities on the microscope side of things. I wouldn't generally recommend buying new for the budget conscious--if you buy new and cheap you'll typically end up with something with poor build quality and optics which will be a pain to use and maintain. Buy used and you've got a much better shot at getting something amazing for an affordable price. Full disclosure on this, I buy/assemble/refurbish gem microscopes to resell, so it's not like I don't have a dog in this race (though I'm wrapping it up once I've finished my current lot, it's loads of fun but not very profitable).
Generally on the used market your best shot is a used GIA gemolite (a V, VI, VII or X), though you want to be sure you can return it easily if you're buying from an unknown seller. If they weren't well taken care of the tilt might be loose or the head might be misaligned or something like that--most often the gem clip will be missing, which is a bummer--you can get a cheap third party one but they aren't quite the same. There are a couple of other good well-built scopes out there but you rarely see them available used, at least not at such low prices.
I have a bunch of used gem scopes on hand right now, or if you spot one on eBay you want to ask about just post it here. Mostly nice used gemolites, but I do have a couple of cheaper options too.

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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:15 am 
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I can recommend Stephens refurbished scopes. I have GIA students that I mentor that have purchase these and been very happy.


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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:06 am 
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1bwana1 wrote:
Fill in the basics first.

Add to what you already have:

A good quality Refractometer, not cheap chinese one.
Hand held spectrometer OPL is my recommendation
Dichroscope
Chelsea filter
Best microscope you can afford. This will bust your $1,000 per item limit, but is money well spent. Don't go cheap here.
LW/SW UV light box
Fiber optic halogen light source

For a journeyman gem ID lab you should be able to do it with this set of equipment


Thank you for the recommendation. I have a used refractometer. But I am planning to get the digital one with thermo tester. Since the RI liquid is toxic, I don't want to use it in my room. I feel the microscope is very important. With the 10x loupe I have trouble confirming some of the inclusions.


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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:08 am 
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Stephen Challener wrote:
If you buy used there are some great possibilities on the microscope side of things. I wouldn't generally recommend buying new for the budget conscious--if you buy new and cheap you'll typically end up with something with poor build quality and optics which will be a pain to use and maintain. Buy used and you've got a much better shot at getting something amazing for an affordable price. Full disclosure on this, I buy/assemble/refurbish gem microscopes to resell, so it's not like I don't have a dog in this race (though I'm wrapping it up once I've finished my current lot, it's loads of fun but not very profitable).
Generally on the used market your best shot is a used GIA gemolite (a V, VI, VII or X), though you want to be sure you can return it easily if you're buying from an unknown seller. If they weren't well taken care of the tilt might be loose or the head might be misaligned or something like that--most often the gem clip will be missing, which is a bummer--you can get a cheap third party one but they aren't quite the same. There are a couple of other good well-built scopes out there but you rarely see them available used, at least not at such low prices.
I have a bunch of used gem scopes on hand right now, or if you spot one on eBay you want to ask about just post it here. Mostly nice used gemolites, but I do have a couple of cheaper options too.


Thank you for letting me know. Let me do some research first. I have so many plan I want to start. Time is not enough for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:00 pm 
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Don't waste your money on a digital instrument.
They are NOT reliable.


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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:51 pm 
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Confirm, there is not a digital refractometer worth owning. Don't waste your money.


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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:05 pm 
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Barbra Voltaire wrote:
Don't waste your money on a digital instrument.
They are NOT reliable.



The reason I want a digital one because the traditional refractometer cannot measure the RIs of the stones that are OTL. Which refractometer can measure the RIs of the stones with RI over 1.8?


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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:14 am 
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These instruments are not refractometers. As the majority of gems fall below 1.8, I would think you would want to be confident in your identifications of those, no? One learns to be careful with the RI liquid.

There are a handful of gemstones over the limit and they can all be positively identified by other reliable means. Specific gravity, hand held spectroscopes and magnification should serve you well.

Of course you can buy what you want, but I suspect the reason you are posting on this forum is because you want the advice of industry professionals.


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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:06 am 
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I wouldn't be too concerned about refractometer fluid. It's toxic and you should read the MSDS and treat it accordingly, but plenty of things are toxic and just need to be treated accordingly.

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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 3:02 pm 
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Thank everyone for your input


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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:57 am 
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Have you ended up picking up any equipment yet?

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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:43 pm 
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IMO you can skip the Chelsea Filter.
Not a determinate tool.


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 Post subject: Re: Please recommend tools/equipment for a hobbyist
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:38 pm 
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It is a fun toy with some niche uses

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