Forums General Discussion Is Refractol still available?

17 replies, 16 voices Last updated by Eric Hoffman 4 years, 1 month ago
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    • #3881


      Is Refractol gem immersion fluid still being manufactured and sold? If not, what are people using as a replacement?

      Nancy Attaway

    • #3882

      Alan Balmer

      Graves still lists it, but I suspect their catalog is out of date. A search for “refractol substitute” brings up a number of possibilities, but I’m not qualified to evaluate them.

    • #3886


      Try contacting I believe she has some. She had at least 20 jars but she showed me a trick using a lazer light for clarity and to see inclusions. $15 I believe. She is the one that makes the italdo diamond spray. Good Luck.

    • #3891

      Wayne Emery

      Hi Nancy,

      I know that Refractol is no longer being distributed, but I have been distributing a replacement, “ImmersAll” for about six months. Contact me by email, I’ll send you pics and info. 2 oz bottles, 4 oz jars and kits including an immersion cell and a set of polarizers. My email is and I am on FB under Wayne Emery.

      Wayne Emery

    • #3950


      Try wetting your stone with common hand cleaner like “Germ-X” sold at Wal-Mart. You may be surprised as to how well you can see inside. If nothing else you will have a clean germ free stone when through.

    • #3979

      Hi Nancy, I recently attempted to find Refractol for a new faceter. I wasn’t able to get any from the sources that listed it. So, I did some homework and found that there is a really good replacement that is less messy and safe to use. It is Benzyl Benzoate, RI 1.568. This is available in 50 ml bottles at several online chemical suppliers. It is way less expensive than Refractol and less smelly too. I am no longer using my last bottle of Refractol after using this better disclosing liquid.

      Dennis Anderson in sunny Southern California

    • #4230


      here are a couple of good household items you might try and find work incredibly well.
      no. 1 caro syrup
      no. 2 olive oil
      no. 3 vegetable oil
      And if you are an ole rock licker these are all save to lick clean. LOL

    • #4936


      one of my club members bought a faceting machine in montana with extras and included a bottle sold out of someplace nere death valley in the 60’s-70’s, dont think it out there anymore but i DO AGREE we need something like that to stop wasting time cutting poor stones.

    • #5070


      Since Refractol seems to have disappeared, I’ve been using wintergreen oil. Works pretty well when just painted on and smells good too. LOL

    • #5088


      Try this link. I use it and it works great!


    • #5094


      Yes and no. No, sadly Refractol is no longer produced. Yes, it is still available. I searched and searched at the first of the year…when I found a source, I bought two jars. It’s still out there. I’ve tried some of alternatives, like wintergreen, but I did not think Wintergreen worked as well. I haven’t tried Benzyl Benzoate, but it sounds promising.

    • #5095


      Me i use coconut oil, it’s work well, but i have heat it slightly before use it, because it’s cold, it has composition of a thick fat.The advantage is that it does not cost much.

    • #5096

      Alan Balmer

      I hadn’t seen coconut oil used before. It’s a little on the low side compared to some other common oils. Here’s a link you might find interesting –

    • #5097


      Benzyl Benzoate (RI 1.5681, SG 1.118) is availablee from Amazon. $18.46 for 16 oz. (

      CAS #120-51-4

      MSDS available at

    • #6277


      HEY dennis and guys are ok. i went to net and tex lab supply has it.
      benzyl benzoate 250ml,8.45 fl.oz. and i paid little over $10 for it and IT WORKS GREAT we look right inside the rough. students love it before wasting their time on a bad piece of rough.

    • #6302


      A lice and scabies medication for looking into rough…go figure

    • #6413

      Tom Mitchell

      The gentleman who used to produce Refractol passed away at age 94 about 5 to 6 years ago. He took the formula to his grave even after several people approached him to buy the formula from him. He told me that one of he ingredients in the formula he used to buy from a company in Japan in a 5 gallon container and that company finally decided not to sell it unless he purchased at least 50 gallons. I even offered to help pay for the 50 gallon shipment if he shared the formula with me. But….

      Anyway, there have been a couple of products spring up in his wake and I have tried them all. They each do about the same thing that Refractol used to do. But I have to side with Al Balmer in recommending the following web article: This lists several commonly available liquids that you can use. For example, anise oil, cassia oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil and wintergreen oil are the primary examples that have a refractive index close to Refractol (1.567). I purchased samples of all of them and they all work well. The only problem I have with these oils is that they are very pungent and after a short period of time the odor drives me out of the room. I still have them but I keep them in the refrigerator in the garage.

      One product that uses wintergreen oil is Refractel. It is sold out of Washington State. Works well and because it has been mixed with another odorless oil the smell is not overpowering.

      I have also tried several other concoctions that are available on line but I steer away from them because of their hazardous properties. One of them mentioned in this discussion is the Benzyl Benzoate. After reading the MSDS sheet on this one, I choose to leave the bottle sealed for ever.

      Hope this helps.

    • #6521

      Eric Hoffman

      I use the EzyView Rough Transparency Fluid from Adamas Facet:

      It works well for me, and I use it rarely enough that it’s lasted me forever, so I’ve never had occasion to try other alternatives. Tom Smith (owner) says it’s safer than the old Refractol, and I believe him, but I wouldn’t do shots of it 😉


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