How to Become a Gemologist

Written by

Beatrice Harrison


August 14, 2014


Gemology is the art and profession of recognizing and assessing a wide variety of gemstones. Trained and qualified professionals are required to identify and appraise gems to be sold to jewelers.

What does a gemologist do?

Gemologists describe, analyze, and certify the characteristics and quality of a variety of gemstones. They identify natural and synthetic gemstones, color-enhanced or treated natural gemstones, and fracture-filled gemstones. They use a variety of instruments to inspect gemstones or other finished pieces of jewelry. The instruments include grading tools, microscopes, and computerized equipment. Once they have examined the gemstones or jewelry they compose reports certifying that the pieces are of a specific quality. They often categorize the gemstones based on crystal structure, refractive index, specific gravity, and other properties. Gemologists also often identify where the gemstones originated. Once they determine all of the factors, gemologists appraise and value gemstones.

Gemologists often work in gemological laboratories or as quality control specialists for manufacturers, importers, or retailers of gemstones. Some gemologists specialize in a particular type of gemstone such as diamonds or rubies.

What kind of training does a gemologist need?

Gemologists usually learn their skills in technical or vocational schools. Many public and private colleges offer gemology training. Programs typically last 6 months to 1 year depending on the program. Some gemologists have bachelor or master degrees in gemology. Students learn the use and care of machines and tools used in gemology, identifying a variety of gemstones, and designing, casting, polishing, and setting stones. Some gemologists obtain a bachelor degree in fine arts or jewelry design. Most employers provide new gemologists with up to a year of supervised on the job training or apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship programs also typically take a year to complete and focus on setting stones. Gemologists must also stay current on technological advances and often complete continuing education courses on an annual basis.

What are the prospects for a career as a gemologist?

Employment of gemologists is projected to experience little or no change through 2016, declining 2%.

Even those there is little or no change in employment job prospects should be favorable especially for gemologists that are very skilled. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace gemologists that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do gemologists make?

As of this year, gemologists with 1 to 4 years experience earned an average hourly rate of $11.00. Those with 10 to 19 years experience earned an average hourly rate of $23.59 (2).

For anyone considering whether and how to become a gemologist, this is a great career choice for individuals interested in a variety of gemstones that are natural or synthetic. Gemologists must have good hand and finger dexterity, patience, good eye-hand coordination, and excellent concentration. Since they work with valuable materials, gemologists must be trustworthy, honest, and have good character. Those who work with customers must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Becoming a Gemologist Requires Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming a Gemologist? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  Beatrice Harrison

Educated at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Beatrice Harrison has extensive professional experience in career counseling, having helped a growing number of job seekers find fulfilling and meaningful careers in a variety of fields and disciplines.

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