Just got back from my week-long GIA Lab class in Carlsbad, California. It was a fun week, full of learning–and of course, antiquing and treasure hunting. More on that next time! Always a good time at the Carlsbad campus–I especially love all the displays and seeing what is new since the last time I’ve been there. Currently, GIA features their Celebration of Birthstones, which exhibits each birthstone, fun facts and examples of each. The Egg-stravaganza exhibit showcases 850 mineral eggs that have been collected and carved over 40 years.
In class, I learned the basic gem identification process using the ever-so-important tools of the trade. A gemologist needs these instruments to help them identifty gemstones: a loupe, a pair of gem tweezers and cleaning cloth, a refractometer with a polarizing filter, a polariscope and optic figure sphere, a dichroscope, a spectroscope and a penlight! We learned how to use and interpret each of these. Also, received my Gem Identification Handbook–all six pounds of it! Very handy and totally necessary. Now I have 500 stones to identify, a whole lot of reading to do and a 20 stone exam to pass (without missing a single stone)!