Microscopy and Photomicrography
The ability to combine microscope use and photography enables a valuer to not only identify inclusions, confirm natural or synthetic origin, but also share this information, whether for interest’s sake, or if a valuation conclusion is challenged, and can therefore be a vital addition to those ever-important working notes.
If you have ever struggled to manipulate microscope, camera, lighting and stone tongs, often with all too- disappointing results, this is an outstanding opportunity to rectify all that, under the expert eye of one of the best in her field, and in an ideal venue.
The day started with a journey into the centre of gemstones and the features that gemmologists can see with a microscope. Billie presented the audience with an overview of gemmological microscopy and discussed the most suitable lighting conditions for a variety of scenarios. This included examples of frequently overlooked features in gems and how to spot them with appropriate lighting setup.
During the practical session, each delegate was provided with their own workstation, complete with microscope and varied lighting to look at inclusions and learn more about what they can tell us about gemstones. We also discussed techniques that can be used to capture photomicrographs. Attendees learnt how to take photos through the microscope, with their own cell phone cameras and with a professional photomicrography setup.
Billie Hughes FGA
Billie Hughes is a gemmologist at Lotus Gemology, a colored stone testing laboratory in Bangkok, Thailand. After graduating from UCLA in 2011, Billie became a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain in 2013. She has already distinguished herself with her photographic work publishedin Terra Spinel, the Wall Street Journal, Ruby & Sapphire: A Collector’s Guide, and Ruby & Sapphire: A Gemologist’s Guide. Her gemmological work hasappeared in Gems & Gemmology, Gems&Jewellery, The GemGuide, The Journal of the Gemmological Association of Hong Kong, and InColor Magazine. Billie has travelled extensively for research on gems, and visited her first gem mine at age two! She is also a talented photomicrographer and has won awards in the Gem-A and Clemson University’s photo competitions.