Professional Jeweler Archive: Picture Perfect

October 2000

Diamonds/Gemology


Picture Perfect

A new book is a one-way ticket to visit the microscopic splendor of diamonds


At the very least, John I. Koivula’s The MicroWorld of Diamonds pulls double duty. The new book is a guide for anyone even remotely involved in diamond gemology and a bargain passage to visit beautiful and exotic places on the surface of diamonds or in their vast unique microscopic interiors.

Koivula, author and award-winning photographer, takes readers on an educational voyage to show and describe the particular microscopic characteristics of rough and cut diamonds, the differences between synthetic diamonds and natural ones, ways to spot treatments in diamonds and the visual characteristics of diamond simulants versus natural diamonds.

The book is divided into 12 chapters, and each chapter is followed by an extensive bibliography and sources for add-itional information. The book serves as a handy reference on a wide variety of diamond topics.

Koivula persuades his audience to take a more critical and educated look at the attributes and characteristics of diamonds and diamond simulants as seen through a microscope. “While diamonds might look relatively similar to the human eye, in their microworld no two are exactly alike,” Koivula writes. But Koivula, who serves as Gemological Institute of America’s chief research gemologist, also shows no fear in wedding scientific aspects of gemology to the appreciation and beauty of diamonds. “Diamonds are about beauty or the human perception of it,” he says. “No machine has to tell us when we are looking at a beautiful diamond – we just know. Such beauty does not have to be quantified or precisely defined. In fact it can’t be.” Readers will see the beauty of diamonds through Koivula’s eyes and his microscope.

The MicroWorld of Diamonds is Koivula’s second book of photomicrography. (He worked with Dr. Eduard Gübelin on the Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones in 1986.) Koivula’s writings and photographs have appeared in Gems and Gemology, GIA’s quarterly publication, and in scores of other gemological journals and books. He has won the Nikon Small World Competition and other photographic awards and is a frequent lecturer at gemological gatherings around the world.

The MicroWorld of Diamonds, $95, available from Gemworld International Inc., Northbrook, IL; (847) 564-0555.

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

This photo from The MicroWorld of Diamonds shows trigons and microlamellar sculpture in an octahedral face using Nomarski differential interference contrast at 80X.
This photo from The MicroWorld of Diamonds shows two or more mineral inclusions in the same diamond. Photos such as this are particularly useful to scientists because they paint a more complete picture of a diamond’s geology. This photo shows a grayish green omphasite crystal and an orange garnet that identify the host as an eclogitic diamond (one formed in pyroxene-garnet that’s sometimes found in South African diamond pipes). When colorful mineral inclusions such as these are presented in faceted diamonds, they make most interesting conversation pieces. The diamond was photographed at 30X. Diamond courtesy of the Gemological Institute of America.
Photos by John I. Koivula

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications