A Polariscope is a gemmological instrument that tests to see if a gemstone is double or single refractive or cryptocrystalline. The polariscope allows you to see the different directions that light is traveling through a stone - that is the optic interference figure that the light beam creates as it travels through the stone. There are relatively few gemstones that are single refractive, and identification of those stones is less difficult due to their rarity. There are however a lot of double refractive gemstones. With the additional help of conoscopy, the doubly refractive gemstone can be identified as either uniaxial or biaxial. Some break up a beam of light into two beams – such as ruby, sapphire and emerald. - whilst others break up a beam of light into three separate beams such astanzanite and andalusite. A Polariscope can also be used to separate synthetic amethyst from natural amethyst, or separate jade and chalcedony from glass as well as detect stress in materials and strain within diamonds and other gemstones.
Diamond look-alike Moissanite, is a classic example. It is double refractive and gives immediate confirmation that the stone is Moissanite rather than a diamond.
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