How To Become A Gemologist
A gemologist is responsible for certifying, analyzing, and describing the characteristics and qualities of gemstones. Utilizing microscopes, computerized tools, and various grading instruments, gemologists examine gemstones or finished pieces of jewelry to certifying their quality. Diamonds, sapphires, and rubies are some examples of gemstones a gemologist may work with. A gemologist identifies if a gemstone is natural, synthetic, treated, color-enhanced, or damaged.
A gemologist categorizes gemstones based on specific gravity, refractive index, and crystal structure. A gemologist can also classify the origins of a gemstone during evaluation. If you have a passion and interest in gemstones, but wish to know how grade and identify them, a career in gemology may be for you!
Why Become A Gemologist
Gemologists are invaluable when it comes to the world of evaluating gemstones. A gemologist is incredibly detail oriented, organized, and can easily identify the variety and intricacies of gemstones. Gemologists can identify and evaluate intricate details that are not noticeable or visible to the human eye. The work and expertise of a gemologist is priceless because clients rely on your expertise to handle their personal or family heirlooms.
It will be your responsibility to understand the gemstone’s color, shape, size, and other qualities. It is up to the gemologist to properly understand the jewelry and gemstone market to provide a client with the best estimate of a gemstone’s value.
Qualities & Skills for Gemologists
If you are seeking employment within the field of gemology, it is imperative that you possess the following qualities and skills in order to obtain a position as a gemologist.
- Detail Oriented – The work of a gemologist is often solitary and meticulous. Patience and concentration are essential to a gemologist’s work as they are concentrating on details of a gemstone in order to effectively grade and analyze the specific piece.
- Interpersonal Skills – As a gemologist, you will be working with clients, jewelers, metal workers, or precious stone workers to analyze and grade a gemstone. It is important to clearly convey your findings and information clearly to a client or co-worker.
- Physical Stamina & Hand-Eye Coordination – Gemologists work with grading equipment, microscopes, and many other jewelry tools to identify and analyze gemstones. As a gemologist, you may be seated in the same position for quite some time, bending and straining your eyes to analyze a gemstone. It imperative that you have strong, physical stamina and hand-eye coordination when handling tiny gemstones.
- Finger Dexterity – You will be handling small to tiny gemstones and precision tools. It is imperative that you have precise finger dexterity in order to grasp or manipulate gemstones in order to analyze each stone properly.
Gemologist Work Environment
A gemologist may be employed through a jewelry store, manufacturing plant, or jewelry repair shop. Gemologists work with grading equipment, microscopes, and many other jewelry tools to identify and analyze gemstones. Gemologists may be employed by gemological laboratories as quality control specialists. A gemologist may specialize in grading a specific type of gemstone, such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, or garnets. Gemologists typically work by themselves within a jewelry store, laboratory, manufacturing plant, or jewelry repair shop.
The Occupational Employment and Wages Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor showed in May 2012, the median annual wage of a gemologist is $35,350. The annual wage of gemologists is dependent on experience and education within the field.
Gemologist Career Outlook
The career outlook for a gemologist looks to decline, with a projected decrease of 10% from 2012 to 2022. The projected decline is due to the current trend of outsourcing jewelry manufacturing and production to other countries. With the decline of job opportunities for gemologists, it will create future competition for the open job opportunities.
In order to stand out from other gemologists, it is imperative that you pursue higher education through apprenticeships, and education. The more experience you gain within the field of gemology, the less competition you will face in the future. With the rise for custom jewelry and nontraditional jewelry retailers, gemologists may see a demand for their expertise in the future.
In order to become a gemologist, you must undergo formal training to analyze, identify, and grade gemstones.
Before you can work in the jewelry and precious metals industry as a professional gemologist, you need to learn the art and science of gemstone identification and grading. A comprehensive diploma program in gemology is offered in gemology schools like the Gemological Institute of America where students learn about analysis, grading, buying, selling and pricing of precious gems like diamonds and other colored stones. These programs, which can be completed in less than a year, prepare students to work as a professional gemologist in jewelry stores, jewelry manufacturing and gemological laboratories.
GIA (Gemological Institute of America), as well as many other leading international gemologist training programs, offer coursework in gem identification, diamond grading and pricing, synthetic and treated gem identification, and colored stone grading and pricing. Upon completing your gemological degree, you will understand the fundamentals and skills to become a gemologist. As a gemologist, you may find employment within gemological laboratories or jewelry stores.