Moreshine Gemstone
Moreshine Gemstone

how to identify gemstones

When it comes to identify gemstones, you must know your   motive.  Whether a natural or synthetic, neither cut is or rough gemstones sometimes they confuse when it comes to distinction.  For instance a blue sapphire looks very much like a tanzanite, or pink spinal looks like pink tourmaline. Like brown zircon and brown citrine. And because of that you need gemstone tools to identify and differentiate them.

It is also advisable

-to do at least three different tests to have the right identification. 

-Also you must have adequate knowledge and know how to use the gemstone tools.

- Absence of proper use of gemstone tools, or not having adequate knowledge on gemstones can lead to wrong results.

Reasons for Gemstones identification

Let us look at the essence of gemstone identification, and what you should know

  1. Is it natural or synthetic?
  2. Is it treated or not?
  3. Is it simulant or not?
  4. What is the type of the particular gemstone?
  5. Things to considering when identification gemstones


Color is one of the properties used in identifying a gemstone. Some of them by looking at their colors you can easily identify them. For example, the colors on the opal gemstones are different from the color on the agate gemstones. Some of the gemstones can be identified by the combinations of their colors. Such as amethyst and citrine becoming  ametrine. In other case when we look at the gemstone and discovering that it’s a sapphire red in color, then we call it ruby.

Let us look at another example, how the color can distinguish a gemstone from another.  When Beryl is blue in color, we call it “aquamarine”, simply because it is blue in color. When Beryl is yellow in color we call it “heliodor”, if it is green we call it “emerald” but it’s the same Beryl gemstone.

I hope you have seen how helpful the color is in the identification exercise.


This is another property in gemstone identification; you can distinguish between one gemstone from another by its hardness. When a blue sapphire is put together with a tanzanite, they look very much alike. But hardness can distinguish them; the hardness of sapphire is 9 while the hardness of tanzanite is around 6 to 7. This can be done by using gemstone testing tools. Please take note, do not use hardness test to distinguish between the natural and the synthetic gem,because both of them have the same hardness.

Refraction Index

What is RI? It is a ratio of light speed in the air to the light speed in a medium. We have a single reflection(SR) and a double reflection(DR). The instrument used here is called Refractometer. Through this instrument you can know whether the stone is SR or DR. even when the gemstone is unknown to you, by using Refractometer you can identify it. Gemstone Refractive Index is like human fingerprint and RI is most useful method in identifying gemstones.

Specific Gravity

This test is also very helpful especially to unknown gemstones, and in this whole exercise there is what is known as “specific gravity testing set” which have normal scale. But the scalemust be “legal for trade scale”. 

For “Gemstone identification”, you either get qualified personnel or go for training on gemstone identification.

Your eye

Your eyes are tool number one in gem identification. Some may not agree with this truth. You can’t identify any gem without using human eyes.  Your eyes can bring good result in rough gemstones.

There are other tools you must have them in gemstone identification like

  • Microscope
  • Dichroscope
  • Spectroscopes
  • Ultra Violet Light Testing Equipment
  • Polariscope
  • Fiber Optic Light System
  • Incandescent light