What is Gem Magnetism: Magnetic Gemstones - Moriartys Gem Art
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  • What is Gem Magnetism: Magnetic Gemstones

    by Jeff Moriarty April 14, 2023


    Video Transcription

    Hi, I'm Steve Moriarty from moregems.com, and today we're going to do a little bit of gem testing. Supposedly garnets are magnetic, and I've never used it as an identification tool so we've got a little setup here. I've got my assistant with me, and we're going to try and see how the magnet does affect garnets, and I have a few other stones to see if it affects those also.

    So this is our setup, just a string and a piece of dental wax. If you set this up, you want to make sure that what you set up is not magnetic. And although it seems to move a little bit, it really is not magnetic so whatever we test will be tested accurately.

    So let's get started, and we'll take our first stone, which is a piece of tsavorite garnet, rough. Stick it on there. Let it slow down a little bit. And we'll see what the magnet does. And as you can see, it is somewhat magnetic. Not strongly magnetic, but definitely magnetic. So that's a tsavorite garnet.

    And let's do a stone that is similar, which is a chrome tourmaline, you could confuse these, and see if it's magnetic. Which it doesn't seem to be magnetic. So you could separate chrome tourmaline and a tsavorite using magnetism. Interesting.

    Here's a big rhodolite garnet. Definitely magnetic. Stronger magnetism. So a lot of garnets have iron in them, and I'm assuming that's what we're dealing with here. Next up is a spessartite garnet. Definitely magnetic. The pyrope-almandine and spessartites seem to be more magnetic than the tsavorite, which is a grossular garnet.

    Next up is a color change garnet. Definitely strongly magnetic.

    Another grossular, Merelani mint garnet. Interesting. So the tsavorite garnet was magnetic, and the Merelani mint garnet is not. Curious. Maybe I better do some more testing on this garnet. And we'll try another non-garnet, which... This is morganite, could be confused with Malaias. And not magnetic.

    Next up is an anthill garnet, pretty pure pyrope. And another magnetic. So I wonder whether the degree of magnetism, whether you could actually identify the species of garnet that it is. Did we do the spessartite? I'm not sure. And the spessartite garnet, highly magnetic.

    Mahenge garnet. Again, magnetic. Hessonite garnet. Another grossular. Yeah, a very little bit magnetic. Let's see if I can get these demantoids, I only have small ones, see if we can get those on here and see if they'll test. And definitely magnetic, maybe the strongest of them all for such little stones. Highly magnetic.

    One other thing I wanted to try was a mounted piece. So we have a umbalite, pyrope-almandine garnet. See if we can test it. And it does work, so you can test some jewelry, which always is more difficult to test. So this might be a good test for mounted garnets. And I have one other stone that could be confused with these little demantoids off here. And this is a pink sapphire. And not magnetic.

    So this seems to be a useful test. Curious about this Merelani mint again, see if there's any magnetic to it, seeing as the hessonite was only slightly magnetic. Yeah, it's moving just a little bit. Just very slightly magnetic.

    So it's an interesting gemological test that we can use. And as we can see, it can be used on mounted or loose. I'll have to do a little more testing on all gems and see what it works on and what it doesn't. You know, you have things like aquamarine, which have iron in them and I assume they may be magnetic. We'll have to a little further testing and see just what this will separate and whether there's any use to how magnetic they are. Could you go, yeah, it goes 90 degrees, so that's a spessartite garnet? So it's an interesting test, and I'm glad you sat here to watch it with us. And hopefully that'll help you gemologists out there with your gem identifications.

    If you have any comments, leave them in the comment section, and if you would like to watch any more of our educational videos, please like and subscribe.

    Jeff Moriarty
    Jeff Moriarty

    Jeff Moriarty has been in the jewelry industry for almost 20 years. His family now only owns a retail jewelry store in Crown Point, Indiana, but he also travels the world with his father in search of rare gemstones.

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