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How to Identify Raw Transparent Stones

A jeweler cuts and polishes a raw gem to create a masterpiece.
Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Raw, transparent gemstones are a valuable find for many rock collectors. In raw form, gems look like rocks or glass, and you might discard them unless you know how to identify them. Close examination and handling of the stone will help you identify it before you cast it aside and miss a wonderful collecting opportunity. It is important to note that raw transparent gems do not look as they do at the jewelers'.

Observe how light passes through the gemstone. A stone that emits light throughout its mass indicates the real deal, while a stone whose light does not penetrate completely could be glass.

Examine the coloring of your stone. Transparent gemstones have colors that emanate directly from the core. Glass and rock generate colors only from the surface.

Place your finger against the edge of your stone. Raw gemstones have rough edges that can cut ceramic or glass. Regular stones have more rounded edges and are not as sharp.

Press on your stone to determine its pliability. Metal ores that resemble raw gems bend easily. Real transparent gems do not. Raw stones are hard to manipulate without jeweler’s tools.

Examine the core and surrounding layers within your stone. Raw precious stones consist of small crystals, much like sugar crystals, each of which has a unique shape. You may need to use a magnifying glass to see deeper layers.

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