Career in Gemology

7 minute read

Are you intrigued by ornaments? Do you want to explore the various processes involved related to it? Then pursuing a career in gemology may just be perfect for you. The field involves working on a large variety of stones and gems and gaining knowledge on the grading quality, international standards, procedures of polishing and extending into designing, business and importing, amongst others. Gemology as a discipline is the detailed study of precious stones, their unique structures and properties, and the process of formation and identification. Experts in this field closely work with other professionals like goldsmiths, jewelers, designers, etc, and help maintain the required beauty, durability, and value of such gemstones. In this blog, we will shed light on what career prospects a course in gemology holds. 

Starting a Career in Gemology

In order to begin your career as a gemologist, you need to have at least a diploma/certificate degree in a relevant field of interest. Typically, course-offering institutions [mentioned later] ask for a bachelor’s level qualification in any area preferably sciences or design. Owing to hands-on and practical based learning format, students are encouraged to have a preliminary understanding of gemology. Further, those of you who are looking to enter into a specialized business field like Marketing, Designing or Quality Management afterward can choose to pursue MBA programs like MBA in Quality Management as well. 

Gemology Course Structure

As gemology relies on technical methods, tools and techniques, such courses generally involve a considerable amount of practical training through lab work, seminars, and workshops. Common topics covered during a typical gemology course have been tabulated below: 

Physical PropertiesGrading TechniquesHistory of Materials
Glass & Assembled StonesFlame Fusion, Flux Fusion and Other Methods of SynthesisContemporary & Mainstream Jewelry
Weight EstimationColor & Transition ElementsEarly, Mid & Late Victorian Jewelry
Optic Character & DesignWholesale Market Pricing for GemstonesArts & Crafts Jewelry
Light Phenomena6 Crystal SystemsScandinavian Jewelry
Mining & DistributionSpecific GravityPricing Diamonds & Stones
Diamond CuttingEstimating Carat WeightAssessing Proportions

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Let us now look at a few of the top options of making a successful career in gemology or related fields.

  • Appraiser

Requiring an unmatched grasp of the different types of stones and modern analysis techniques, a career in gemology as an appraiser involves evaluation of jewelry (contemporary and antique), watches, colored stones, pearls and so forth. Further, an Appraiser must also be well-versed in specific jewelry styles such as Art Nouveau, Late Georgian, Twentieth century, Edwardian along with several other categories of the period and mainstream jewelry making customs.

  • Auction Expert

An auction sees scores of privately-owned, antique or other kinds of highly valuable jewelry and this is where the experience of an Auction Expert may come handy. These professionals are in charge of conducting quality checks of the auctioned items along with ensuring smooth buying and selling. Further, one may also be required to deal with post-sale quality-related issues. Apart from gaining the requisite knowldege, it is important for Auction Experts to work on soft skill development like communication skills.

  • Jewelry Historian

After a few years of industry experience, one can also venture into jewelry history for a senior level career in gemology. Working in museums, governments and conservation organizations, amongst others, a jewelry historian holds the knowledge of various jewelry making practices through centuries, unique styles in different regions of the world as well as their value and preservation.

  • Designer
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A designer’s job is to experiment with styles, come up with unique jewelry creations and patterns according to the needs and requirements of the enterprise. Further, designing requires an eye for detail, focus on precision and illustration and proficiency with tools and techniques and above all, creativity and imagination. Designers frequently work with computer-aided design tools like Matrix and Rhino as well. While previous experience in sales, marketing or arts is desirable, some can also start their own ventures.

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  • Buyer/Investor

The growth of the gemology industry, especially jewelry companies dealing in diamonds, pearls, etc. has led to the emergence of vibrant investment opportunities. A buyer or an investor puts money in the precious metal sector after carefully monitoring trends, recent developments, and objectives. This sector is largely unpredictable, offering avenues for long term investment although with less liquidity.

  • Lab Research Professional

This is a technically-oriented job that inclines towards studying new gem discoveries, treatment and polishing systems, and analysis techniques. Moreover, individuals interested in making a career in gemology as a lab research assistant or professional can expect to work both on the field and in laboratories. 

More Options

Opportunities in the gemology don’t end with the above list but extend into a host of the other avenues that individuals can explore. Here is a list of some more options:

  • Entrepreneur/Manufacturer

After a significant amount of experience working in the industry, one can also start their own venture in the gemology sector, in a range of verticals including the popular ones of designing and manufacturing. In addition to that, with the demand for designer jewelry, gemstone calligraphy, interior designing and much more, the prospects of creating a successful and thriving business are unlimited. The recognition of gemstone work is not restricted to a country’s borders and much of the business is carried out through imports and exports as well. Responsibilities may range from marketing, business development and inventory management to advertising, human resources and strategy.

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  • Sales Associate

Enterprises employ individuals to work as sales associate/sales representatives for company-offered products. Owing to the unique nature of jewelry, gemstones or technique applied, having extensive knowledge and prior experience in the industry is advisable. Further, since associates interact with potential customers on a personal level, feedback garnered is a useful source of information in improving the quality and standard of existing products as well as in the creation of new items. Sales associates may further choose to venture into entrepreneurship, manufacturing or designing. Career skills of effective communication, persuasion, friendliness, enthusiasm are heavily valued in this profession. 

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  • Quality Control Supervisor

In the gemology industry, quality is of utmost value. As a quality control supervisor, you can expect to work at gemstone related companies and oversee adherence of items to the relevant quality standards of the company. Moreover, international regulations and organizations have their own standards and individuals working at such corporations have to keep on it as well. Industry norms also dictate the severity of quality. 

  • Diamond or Stone Grader

A grader is a specialist with significant expertise in quality grading in terms of carat, weight estimation, optical properties, luster, size, surface, cutting and polishing, color, etc. Such individuals possess extensive knowledge of a range of materials including but not limited to diamonds, emerald, quartz, topaz, beryl, zircon, corundum, mineraloids et al. 

  • Jewelry Business Owner/Retailer/Wholesaler

Retailing or wholesaling can be undertaken in precious stones and metals, tools and equipment or other jewelry/gemstone-related products. One may be required to deal with shipping, liaising with other domestic and international firms overseas, inventory control, quality assurance, product management, amongst others. Additionally, being on pace with the developments of the industry, time management skills, and problem-solving abilities are also recommended.

  • Antique Jewelry Dealer

As an antique jewelry dealer, one’s responsibilities include buying/selling the pieces, interacting with private owners, auctioneers, etc, restoration work, researching, amongst others. Often, antique dealers have an advanced knowledge of gemology, jewelry styles, and stone calligraphy and also carry out advisory work. You can start off by working under a dealer, at an auction house or in a firm as a clerk, cataloguer or assistant and develop a necessary foundational understanding of the field. A general interest in arts is appreciated. 

  • Bench Jeweler

If you are good with hands, the job of a bench jeweler may just be right for you. Specializing in creating, customizing, repairing and fixing various instruments like chains, keyrings and the gemstones within, one can expect to work at manufacturing houses, auction centers, retail stores, and trade shops. To build a successful career in this profession of gemology, Intricate handwork, creativity, detail-orientation is highly desirable.

Best Institutions

Universities and institutions offer, as discussed above, specialised courses in gemology in the form of diploma or certificate courses. Many institutes like the International Gemological Institute even have several branches in numerous countries including India: 

Name of UniversityLocationCourse
Birmingham City UniversityUKBSc (Hons) Gemmology & Jewellery
George Brown CollegeCanadaCertificate in Gemmology
Gemological Institute of AmericaCalifornia & New York, USAShort Term Programs
International Gemological InstituteMultiple Locations incl. IndiaShort Term Programs
Santiago Canyon CollegeUSACertificate in GemologyAssociate Degree in Gemology

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of institutions

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We hope this article on ‘Career in Gemology’ has helped you in knowing what it entails. At the start, it is but natural to feel a bit uncertain. You can consult the experts at Leverage Edu in a 30 minutes free career counselling session and take a step towards making an informed decision towards a rewarding career.

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