Frequently Asked Questions

Submitting an Order

+How do I complete your order form?

Our order form is available to download on our Submit Samples page.

  1. Complete all fields on the Billing and Shipping tab.
  2. On the Samples List tab, start by entering your unique Sample IDs. Please enter one ID per section to be prepared. For example, if you require two sections from the same sample, please enter the Sample ID twice in the list.
  3. For each sample listed, enter the pertinent preparation options under each column. Examples for all common preparations are found under the Prep Examples tab.
  4. Please include a hard copy in your shipping box, and also email an electronic copy to We copy-paste your information to avoid transcription errors.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us at All order forms are reviewed upon submission, and we will always check with you if anything seems unusual.

+How should I package my samples for shipment?

  1. Clearly mark each sample with a unique Sample ID. Writing on the sample itself with a Sharpie is a great way to ensure your IDs and samples don’t become separated. Please outline any area of interest and specify orientations. If you can’t write on the sample, place it in a clearly marked sample bag.
  2. Securely wrap fragile samples - use bubble wrap, paper towels, etc. Please use tape if necessary to secure, but don’t go overboard with multiple layers.
  3. Fill any remaining space in your package with packing material to prevent jostling and breakage.
  4. Remember to include a hard copy of your order forms! Please also email an electronic copy to

+Should I trim my samples myself? To what size and dimensions?

We are happy to trim your samples for you, and will stabilize fragile samples with epoxy prior to trimming. The cost for sample trimming/stabilization is included in the base price.

If you prefer to trim your samples yourself, please use the following dimensions: For standard size slides (27 x 46mm glass ), trim samples to 21mm wide x 40mm long x 1.5cm HIgh. For Large size slides (50 x 76mm glass), trim samples to 46mm wide x 70mm long x 1.5cm deep.

Samples are trimmed slightly smaller than glass size to allow room for a quartz/feldspar sand rim, which serves many important purposes.

+Will you notify me when my samples are received?

We will notify you via email when your order is logged in for processing. This typically occurs on weekends, unless you submit a rush order, which will be logged in immediately upon receipt.

Turnaround Times

+Will my sections really take X weeks to prepare?

+Is rush turnaround available for all preparations?

+I have a scheduled analysis date. How can I be sure to receive my sections by then?


+What is the difference between a polished and unpolished thin section?

+Is X included in the preparation base cost?

+How do I fill out the order form for my required preparation?

+What is considered a “custom preparation”?

Petrographic Analysis

+How do I submit samples for petrographic analysis?

+What is included in a petrographic analysis report? What is the cost?

+Do you perform point counts?

Shipping, Incomplete and Late Orders

+Some sections are missing in the package I received from Spectrum. Where are the rest of my sections?

+Where are my billets and/or excess materials?

+Why is my order late, and when can I expect it?

+What shipping carrier does Spectrum use?

Estimates, Billing and Payments

+Can I get a quote for my billing office?

+When do I pay for my order? What are my payment options?

+Can I prepay for an order?

+Does Spectrum require a PO for order submission?

+Can we set up a unit price contract?


+What is the best way to contact Spectrum for questions?

+What is Spectrum’s shipping address?

+Why can’t I find Spectrum’s phone number?