Gemology is the science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials. It is considered a geoscience and a branch of mineralogy. Some jewelers are academically trained gemologists and are qualified to identify and evaluate gems.

A gemologist is an individual who has expertise and rich knowledge about different gems and stones. A gemologist is also known as a gem expert and studies gems to find out their composition, value, quality, genuiness etc. These experts use optical instruments like microscopes, polariscopes etc. to study the internal and external surface of a gem to comprehend its purity level. Gemologists are hired by various jewelry stores or may work independently as well.

ImageA Gemologist

Duties and Responsibilities of a Gemologist

The following is a list of all the duties and responsibilities of a gemologist:
  • They study the internal surface as well as the external composition of a gem by making use of instruments like refractometer, microscopes etc.
  • They immerse stones and gems into chemical solutions to find out the properties of different stones.
  • They study rare gems and stones and find out the rare specimens or properties.
  • They are also required to estimate the quality of a gem and its market value.
  • Their duties also consist in advising customer about which gems are worth buying.

Educational Qualifications

The first step in learning about gems is its categorization. The next step is to learn the terminology of gemstones and then their physical and optical properties, and how those properties are used to identify gems.

After getting the background one can proceed ito gem identification. Studies relating to this field are gem cutting, sorting, grading, valuation and identification of gemstones, fashion, computer pattern designing, jewelry making, consultancy regarding stones, selling etc.

While Gemologists study the quality, characteristics and value of gem stones, Jewelers typically do the handiwork required to produce a piece of Jewelry.

A gemologist identifies the gems and advises the jeweler about the compatibility of gems to particular metals.

In Jewelry, identification is one of the key elements of business. Some rubies and garets sometimes look alike, but their values are considerably different, only Gemologists can easily identify the difference and know its physical characteristic and value.

In India the Gems & Jewelry scenario is undergoing a positive change with diamonds and stones. At the same time traditionally preferred Gems like Rubies, Sapphires and Emerals have maintained a consistent position.

From trade point of view Gems and Jewelry has been one of the biggest foreign exchange earner for India. It is therefore, highly necessary that people associated with the trade, receive training and carry out the operations scientifically and professionally so as to achieve greater success.

Candidates who have qualified 10+2 or equivalence in Higher Secondary/Senior Secondary or equivalent examination from a recognized Educational Institution can apply for Gemology degree/diploma/certificate courses. The minimum age requied is 18 years. There is no maximum age limit. The qualifications for research in the field are degrees in geology, chemistry or physics.

Art colleges offer Bachelors/Master’s degree of Fine Arts (BFA/MFA) in Jewelry design. The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT, Delhi) offers a 3-year intensive diploma programme in accessory design that includes Jewelry Designing.

Indian Institute of Gemology (IIG New Delhi) is offering various courses of Gemology. There is a three-and-a-half month course in gemology (resident programme) as well as a one-year home study programme. The Indian diamond institute and the Indian Gemological Institute conduct advanced fellowship programs duration for science and engineering graduates. Some of the other courses are:

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Diamond Technology
  • Diploma in Diamond Processing
  • Diploma in Diamond Trade management
  • Certificate course in International System of Diamond Grading
  • Certificate course in Grading, Cutting, Polishing, Bruiting etc
  • Certificate course in Planning & Marketing
  • Certificate course in Hard Shape Grooving
  • Diploma in Gemology
  • Certificate course in Coloured Gemstone Cutting & Polishing
  • Courses in Jewelry Design & Machine Cast Jewelry.

For P.G course, eligibility is Graduation; and for other courses, eligibility is Higher Secondary or equivalent qualification.

Gemologists need excellent powers of observation, attention to detail, precision, the ability to concentrate, ability to work on one’s own, excellent hand – eye coordination, an objective approach and a great sense of responsibility.

In addition to the above qualities, they require artistic and creative skills, aesthetic sense and colour sensitivity. They should also acquire an insight into customes and tradition as well as the latest trends as these do influence art forms and design. Effective communication skills facilitate an understanding with the clients as well as the crafts persons.

Job Prospects and Career Options

The Indian gem and jewelry industry has entered the new millennium with great confidence. Employment opportunities for Gemologists are increasing nowadays, because jewelry sales are on the rise. A gemologist/jewelry designer can begin by working with jewelry houses or work as a freelancer. There are lots of job opportunities mainly in the private sector and in export houses as well.

Working full-time with firms or established designers requires the designer to conform to their standards and client profiles. However, if one is talented and designs one’s own line of products, the chances of carving an individual niche are much higher provided they could satisfy market needs and continue to be creative at the same time.

There are many areas of specialization in this field — gem grinders, gem polishers, gem assorters, engravers, jewelry setters, researchers and scientists. Related occupations could be of gem-cutters, hand engravers and watchmakers and repairers.

There are also opportunities for setting up retail and trading units. Gemologists can be engaged in making small gem sculptures, giving shapes to the Gemstones, exporting jewelry etc.

Indian gem cutters and craftsmen are held in high regard the world over. Further, the increasing numbers of affluent individuals, working women, double-income households and fashion-conscious men are expected to keep gems and jewelry sales strong.

Is it the Right Career for Me?

Gemology is a science and art rolled into one. To take up gemology as a lucrative career you need to have interest in the study of various precious and semi-precious stones.

You ought to have adequate knowledge about the way these materials develop in the depths of the earth. This quality immensely helps gemologist to grade and evaluate gemstones.

Next, you must be prepared to work for long hours in gemological laboratories and units where cutting and polishing or treatment of gems takes place. Other essential qualities for this profile are good communication skills, ample knowledge of technological advancements in this field and personal integrity when making high transactions in the gem market.

Demand and Supply

There is a great demand for trained gemologists these days. The growth in demand for these professionals is mainly propelled by the requirements of people who wants to buy genuine gem stones.

Moreover, the gems and jewelry industry has gone through a sea change in the recent past. Buyers and even retailers have become more quality conscious and as a result, there is all the more need for expert gemologists.

On the supply side, varius institutions across the country are trying their best to meet the demand for professionals in this field. Beign a relatively new discipline, gemology is slowly but steadily gaining coin in the society.

Market Watch

Gem cutting and polishing and treatment and grading of raw precious and semi-precious stones are big businesses in India. This industry and allied activities such as jewelry designing, making and retailing and gemstone consultancy will always keep the market hot for this professional profile.

International Focus

You may get the chance to visit foreign lands depending upon the nature of your profile and the organization you are working for. You may get to travel internationally to buy or sell raw or finished gems and precious metals or display them at international trade fairs and exhibitions.

As a reputed gem consultant who caters to high profile multinational clientele, you may have to travel across the globe. Since astrology as a science has started getting recognition in the western world you can even start your own gem business there.

Different Roles, Different Names

The gems and jewelry industry is one of the highest foreign exchange earning sectors in India. Moreover, this industry provides livelihood to hundreds of thousands of people across the country. The main roles associated with this field are as follows:

  • Gemologist: Responsible for conducting a variety of tasks associated with gems. Major tasks include gem assorting and grading, gem evaluation, testing, dealing with rought stones and so on. Other important roles include gem cutting and polishing, providing gemstone consultancy, treatment of raw gem stones and manufacture of artificial gems.

  • Diamond Grader: A professional who has the expertise to grade diamonds according to the established diamond grading norms.
  • Jewelry Designer: A professional who conceptualizes new jewelry designs and styles keeping in account the changing demand of fashion, time, taste and preference of the society at large.
  • Sales Personnel: Responsible for selling gems, precious minerals, jewelry and gemology related tools and equipment in the national and in the international market.
  • Gemstone Auction Manager: A person who takes care of the entire auctioning process of various gemstones in an auction house.
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  • References
    1. Adapted from the manual
      The Right Hand to Eat: 116 Career Choices By Safiya Mustafa Jariwala

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