A polariscope uses polarized light for gem identification. It consists of two polarized filters, one on the top and one on the bottom of the instrument as seen in the picture to the right. Both the polarizer and the analyzer have their own vibrational planes. When the vibrational plane of the polarizer is at right angles to the vibrational direction of the analyzer, the field between them remains dark. This position is known as the “crossed position”. In this position, gems can be tested to determine if they are:
anomalously double refractive or an
The polarizing filters of this instrument are made of polarizing plastic sheets (polyvinyl alcohol containing dichroic molecules – stretched polymers). Older models were created with microscopically oriented crystals of iodoquinine sulfate (herapathite) or tourmaline plates.