Difference between revisions of "Synthetic forsterite"

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(Refractometer)
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Forsterite's birefringence is much higher than that of tanzanite: 0.033 - 0.038 for forsterite, 0.008 - 0.013 for tanzanite.
 
Forsterite's birefringence is much higher than that of tanzanite: 0.033 - 0.038 for forsterite, 0.008 - 0.013 for tanzanite.
  
The optic character of pure forsterite is biaxial with a positive optic sign (the same as tanzanite). One will sometimes read forsterite to be biaxial -, however if olivine consists of 100 to 85% forsterite (0 to 15% fayalite) it is biaxial +.
+
The optic character of pure forsterite is biaxial with a positive optic sign (the same as tanzanite). One will sometimes read forsterite to be biaxial -, however if olivine consists of 100 to 85% forsterite (0 to 15% fayalite) it is biaxial +.<br />
 +
In practise synthetic forsterite will be biaxial with a positive optic sign.
  
 
===Fluorescence===
 
===Fluorescence===
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Synthetic forsterite will show a weak greenish-yellow under SW-UV and a chalky orangy-yellow under LW-UV. Tanzanite is inert to both.
 
Synthetic forsterite will show a weak greenish-yellow under SW-UV and a chalky orangy-yellow under LW-UV. Tanzanite is inert to both.
  
==Sources==
+
==References==
  
 
* [http://www.gia.edu/newsroom/issue/2798/2231/insider_newsletter_details.cfm#3 Insider Gemologist: What Are the Identifying Characteristics of Tanzanite, and How Is It Distinguished from Imitations?] (2004) - GIA
 
* [http://www.gia.edu/newsroom/issue/2798/2231/insider_newsletter_details.cfm#3 Insider Gemologist: What Are the Identifying Characteristics of Tanzanite, and How Is It Distinguished from Imitations?] (2004) - GIA
 
* Robert Webster, 1990 (4th ed.) - ''Gems, Their Sources, Descriptions and Identification'' ISBN 0750658568 (6th ed.)
 
* Robert Webster, 1990 (4th ed.) - ''Gems, Their Sources, Descriptions and Identification'' ISBN 0750658568 (6th ed.)
 
* ''Introduction to Optical mineralogy'' (2004) - William D. Nesse ISBN 0195149106
 
* ''Introduction to Optical mineralogy'' (2004) - William D. Nesse ISBN 0195149106
 +
* [http://www.morioncompany.com/FORSTERITE.htm Manufactorers data of synthetic forsterite] - Provided by Morion Company

Revision as of 11:42, 5 December 2007

Synthetic forsterite
Chemical composition Magnesium silicate

Mg2SiO4

Crystal system Orthorhombic
Hardness 7
Optic nature Biaxial +
Refractive index 1.634 - 1.670
Birefringence 0.033 - 0.038
Specific gravity 3.22
Pleochroism Strongly dichroic
Fluorescence

LW: chalky orangy yellow
SW: weak greenish yellow

Synthetic forsterite
Photo courtesy of Chaman Golecha
Gem Testing Laboratory, Jaipur


Although forsterite does occur in nature, it is not suitable to be cut into gemstones. As from 1999 large size synthetic forsterites have been created in Russia by the Czochralski pulling technique.
Due to physical and optical properties that lie close to tanzanite, this synthetic is used mainly to imitate tanzanite.

Chemical composition

Mg2SiO4, magnesium sillicate.
Forsterite is one of the endmembers of the isomorphous group to which peridot (olivine) belongs (fayalite-forsterite series).

Diagnostics

One of the easiest and most important techniques in separation synthetic forsterite from tanzanite is by observing the "doubling of back facet edges" (double refraction) due to the high birefringence of synthetic forsterite. This feature is easily visible on examination in various directions using a loupe.
Tanzanite with a birefringence of 0.008 to 0.013 will not show such a strong doubling effect.

Hanneman Tanzanite Filter

Another quick method to seperate synthetic forsterite from tanzanite is with the aid of a Hanneman Tanzanite Filter. This is a filter that combines the Hanneman Aquamarine filter with a London dichroscope.
Synthetic forsterite will show up green through the filter part, while tanzanite will show a pinkish-orange color.

Refractometer

The refractive indices of synthetic forsterite are lower than that of tanzanite.
1.634-1.670 (tanzanite: 1.685-1.707).
Forsterite's birefringence is much higher than that of tanzanite: 0.033 - 0.038 for forsterite, 0.008 - 0.013 for tanzanite.

The optic character of pure forsterite is biaxial with a positive optic sign (the same as tanzanite). One will sometimes read forsterite to be biaxial -, however if olivine consists of 100 to 85% forsterite (0 to 15% fayalite) it is biaxial +.
In practise synthetic forsterite will be biaxial with a positive optic sign.

Fluorescence

Synthetic forsterite will show a weak greenish-yellow under SW-UV and a chalky orangy-yellow under LW-UV. Tanzanite is inert to both.

References