Which one is the best Gemology Microscope ?? where i can buy
Call Mary, CEO of Bolioptics … (909) 993-4661.
This is a difficult decision for most people as most do not have limitless funds for the purchase. I went through this a few years ago, knowing I would need a good gemological scope to do any serious gemology study. I eventually settled on the Optima Model: Mark 4. This has all the special features needed for a gemology microscope. It served me well when I studied in the graduate diamond program as GIA and also professional certified gemologist program here at IGS.
I don’t have any of the newer, cheaper models of Chinese scope, but you can probably find reviews for them on line. I have experience with the old AO zoom scope head with range of 0.7-4.5x and the B & L Stereo Zoom 4 scope with range of 0.7-3.0x. With the latter and possibly with the former you might want a pair of 20X eyepieces to get to 60X in looking for certain inclusions/characteristics of synthetics or a 2X barlow adapter. However, for most stuff, either the AOs (American Optical) or the B&L’s would work well and they are available fairly cheap on line. I did have one AO head come up with a loose lens inside it, so you have to shake them to be sure everything is secure. An old Gemolite or similar is nice with its iris diaphragm and overhead grading light, but a standard stand is also usable with the old Nicholas illuminator or with modern battery-powered LED flashlights. A darkfield illuminator is nice, but Hanneman notes in his gemology book that any gem can be situated above a round hole slightly smaller than its girdle diameter and lit from the side below and this will produce a darkfield. So you can examine most gems with a set of appropriate sized washers to set them over, or a set of holes in pieces of black cardboard or whatever. You can buy a gem holder on Ebay to mount to your scope and if you wish an adjustable diaphragm, you can buy them from China and rig one over some kind of light. Optical quality of most of the major brand (and this is probably true of the new cheap Chinese instruments, too) is more than acceptable for gemological use and makes looking for inclusions and grading a whole lot easier than wielding a 10X loupe, altho’ everyone should learn that, too.
So my point is…just buy what you can afford and if convenience and cache matter to you, factor that in. There’s all kinds of equipment available on Ebay, so you can find what you want there as long as you are careful to vet the sellers and you can even mix and match various equipment. $200 to $400 should net you something quite usable and then if you make a lot of money on gems, you can get your heart’s desire later. I started with a B&L head on a standard stage with mirror and later found an AO head with standard stage and old illuminator for $75 in a local antique shop. Then I found an old retro Gemolite with a defective AO head on it and mated the first AO head to the retro Gemolite…some idiot had put their finger through the diaphragm on it, but I located a $30 replacement diaphragm that screwed right in from China on Ebay. So the Gemolite is now rehabbed at a total cost of about $415. I bought another AO head for a boomstand for stonesetting at my jeweler’s bench, but that’s another story…
If you are looking for used stereo microscopes, try the Cloudy Nights astronomy equipment classified. There seem to be few cheats there, just a lot of optics nuts! HTH, royjohn
I, too, was interested in which microscope. I tried searching for the mark 4 and couldn’t find it. Only 2, 3, and 5
Here in Sweden there are
a very professional
Check them out: