Microscopy & Photomicrography

Thursday 18th July, 2019

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.

Spaces are limited, so please book early.



Workshop overview

The day will start with a journey into the centre of gemstones and the features that gemmologists can see with a microscope. Billie will present the audience with an overview of gemmological microscopy and discuss the most suitable lighting conditions for a variety of scenarios. This will include examples of frequently overlooked features in gems and how to spot them with appropriate lighting setup. Then we will provide an overview of how touse Lotus Gemmology’s Hyperion inclusion database, an online resource withover 1,000 inclusion photomicrographs with a strong focus on ruby, sapphire, and spinel. Attendees can search Hyperion to learn how to separate natural and synthetic gems, treated from untreated material, and gain an insight into origin determination.

During the practical session, each delegate will be 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 will also discuss techniques that can be used to capture photomicrographs. Attendees will learn how to take photos through the microscope, whether with their own cell phone cameras or 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.


Course dates and fees

Date: Thursday 18th July 2019

Time: 10:00am – 4:30pm

(With social networking afterwards)



School of Jewellery Birmingham City University School of Jewellery

c/o Birmingham Assay Office Icknield Street entrance Birmingham
B18 6RZ


Fee – £200.00 - Lunch Provided


For further details or to book your place email: events@academyofvaluers.co.uk


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