Hello everyone,

I just recently got into gemology and need recommendations for a microscope. I’m looking to spend $500usd. Any advice or suggestions would greatly be appreciated.


For a beginning microscope, I bought a GemOro Elite 7 years ago, and it is still the only one that I need. I dont take microphotos, only use it for visual examination of stones. Provides darkfield, top and bottom lighting, 10 and 30 power magnification. I have been happy with it, and use it often.


Thanks John, that’s the one I ended up with. I like it a lot too.


Check ebay on a regular basis. You can often pick up really good GIA MK5’s and MK7’s for a few hundred bucks. I’ve bought at least a dozen of them and they often throw in a bunch of other gem tools with it. I outfitted 6 offices with basic tools just from the extras that came in with the scopes. Try to find ones with American Optics(AO) or Reichert zoom optics. They are the same company and often labeled with both. I’ll take older AO optics in a MK5 body over most of the new scopes.

Good afternoon!
I find some wonderful deals on used microscopes on eBay. I search for the model that I want and plug model year etc and it brings up a daily search. Many of the sellers will accept a “make offer” The tough part is shipping. I always try to find sellers who have experience with shipping delicate instruments.
I also have a revolving search going on Craigslist for gemological instruments. There is almost always some jewelry store with a gemologist retiring who is willing to let it go at a reasonable cost.
Sometimes they throw in extra instruments also. Good equipment can cost a lot upfront but there is always the ability to resell if you decide on another model.