Welcome to Bhagyaratan Jewelry online store
Welcome to Bhagyaratan Jewelry online store


When light passes through a doubly refractive gemstone, the light is split into two rays which are polarized at right angles to each other and travel at differing velocities through the gemstone. In some coloured doubly refractive gemstones, these rays may emerge differing in shade or colour. When this occurs, the rays are said to have experienced "Differential Selective Absorption".

Differential Selective Absorption:

Variations in the absorption of certain wavelengths dependent on direction, causing a stone to appear differently coloured in different directions.

D.S.A in :

Singly refractive Gemstones: No D.S.A, stone is the same colour in all directions. Monochroic.

Doubly refractive Gemstones:

Uniaxial - Two colours seen. Dichroic.

Biaxial - Three colours seen. Trichroic

Another term used for Differential Selective Absorption is Pleochroism.


An instrument comprising of a suitably cut rhomb of Iceland Spar (Calcite) and a lens system in a short tube with a small square aperture at the other end.

The dichroscope separates the polarized rays so that they may be observed side by side.


  1. ace the gemstone on the rotating platform of the dichroscope holder table down.
  2. Direct light onto the gemstone.
  3. View the stone through the dichroscope.
  4. Slowly turn the rotating stage so as to view to all directions.
  5. Look for different colours or shades of colour.


  1. Dichroism is only seen in "Doubly Refractive" gemstones.
  2. It is not seen in gemstones that display "Anomalous Birefringence".
  3. May be very weak or even undetectable.
  4. Not seen in colourless doubly refractive gemstones or along an optic axis.
  5. Exact colours are not important.
  6. Helpful in distinguishing:
  • Blue Sapphire from Synthetic or Natural Blue Spinel.
  • Ruby from Garnet or Spinel.
  • Emerald from Demantoid or Tsavorite Garnet.
  • Any doubly refractive gemstone (ie Amethyst) from Glass.

Dichroism can also be used in colour grading coloured gemstones.

i.e Blue Sapphire described as Greenish/BLUE

Dichroism can also be detected by using a polarizing filter. If it is rotated against a gem, first one colour will be seen (caused by one polarized ray) and then another. It can also be seen simultaneously by using a piece of suitably cut polaroid.