Ask an Expert: What Does a Gemologist Do?

"Gemologists," or extraordinary gem and jewellery specialists, are the brains behind every remarkable piece of jewellery. These professionals are invaluable when it comes to sourcing, assessing, and inspecting our fine jewellery products.

After receiving their degree, a gemologist can work in a variety of capacities, including purchasing and selling diamonds and gemstones, conducting lab research and grading, appraising, designing jewellery, working with auction houses or museums, taking photos of jewellery, blogging about jewellery, being a lapidary artist, teaching, and more. Most gemologists have a lifelong curiosity and love of learning because of their passion for jewellery and gemstones. Gemmology is a never-ending source of inspiration because each gemstone is distinct.

What Does a Gemologist Do?

The public's confidence in GIA's standards for gems and jewellery is the foundation of its reputation, and we shares this trust with its industry-leading quality standards. We inspect each loose diamond we carry by hand using microscopes and other grading tools to ensure you're getting an exceptional and accurately graded gemstone. Every loose diamond we carry comes with a GIA grading report.

But it extends far beyond our diamonds. Our gemologists have examined a piece of jewellery multiple times between when we source and hold it. They are the first responders, and every outstanding piece of jewellery we sell reflects their enthusiasm and knowledge.

Gemmology: What Is It?

Gemmology is the science of precious stone analysis, cutting, and valuation; however, identifying gemstones is the fundamental aspect of gemmology. A gemologist is a person who works in the field of gemmology; gemologists can also be goldsmiths or jewellers.

Some investors and collectors might only be concerned with the financial worth of gemstones, but to tell one gemstone from another, they must consult a gemologist. Gemologists use microscopes, computerised tools, and other grading instruments to examine gemstones found raw and synthesised in a lab.

Gemmology Experts and Their Practices

There are many other experts in the field of gemmology besides gemologists, such as appraisers, jewellers, lapidaries, metalworkers, and scientists.

Professional appraisers with certification in gemmology are valuable in many other fields, such as investing and jewellery sales. To respond to enquiries from clients and recognise any gems brought to them, jewellers must be knowledgeable in gemology. Metalworkers such as goldsmiths require specialised knowledge about the physical properties of gems to create suitable settings. For instance, the pressure to set the prongs on a garnet could shatter a tanzanite stone, and the setting perfect for a diamond could harm an opal.

Gem cutters, also known as lapidaries, require specialised knowledge because different gems require different cutting and polishing methods. What would be effective for some gemstones might be time-consuming or even disastrous.

Highly influential scientists with degrees in geology and even physics make up the smallest group of gemologists. Gemologists add to the corpus of knowledge by developing new testing techniques and examining recently found gemstones.

Investing in Gemstones

Aggressive investors frequently look for alternatives with a better chance of boosting returns on invested capital (ROIC) than more conventional investments when stock market returns fall. Alternatively, even in prosperous market conditions, some investors may want to consider holding tangible assets to diversify their holdings. Purchasing gemstones, especially those of exceptional quality or rare, is likely to retain or even increase in value.

However, Gemstone investments might not be as easily liquidated in an emergency compared to other investment categories. This disadvantage is particularly significant for jewellery; rare, valuable stones are only attractive to high-end consumers. For those looking to make fast money, gemstone investing may seem exciting, but it's risky and should only be done by experts.

However, investing in the precious metals industry is distinct since there are financial market standards and investment vehicles tailored to the precious metals industry.

Those who want to sell gems or persuade others to invest in them frequently use the term "investment-grade" to describe them. In the financial services industry, however, this practice is discouraged since, unlike investment-grade bonds, there are no official guidelines defining what exactly qualifies as an investment-grade gemstone.

Gemmology Careers

The synthesis of gemstones has advanced, making gemmology a significant area of research. A gemmology degree can lead to a variety of career options:


Examine fine watches, jewellery, both old and new, and gemstones. Compose thorough descriptions and assess market value.

Specialist in auctions.

Oversee the purchase and sale of unique jewellery owned by private individuals during the exciting auction process.

Bench Jewellery.

Create and fix exquisite jewellery with skill and knowledge-based methods.


Monitor consumer and industry trends while searching for finished jewellery and gems that will sell for a profit.


Make original jewellery designs with priceless gemstones.

Professional in Lab and Research.

Examine recent discoveries of gems, methods of preservation, and techniques for detecting them in both the field and lab.

Professional in Lab and Research.


Retail jewellery sales is a fast-paced, exciting, and financially rewarding field of work.

Retailer in bulk.

Bring in and market finished jewellery, watches, coloured stones, cultured pearls, and diamonds worldwide.

Ways to Enter the Gemmology Field

Gemmology offers a wide range of career opportunities. Appraisers, retail associates, lab gemologists, and jewellery designers are a few of the most popular. It can be challenging to break into these fields, though, as most need some formal education. If you want to start a career in gemmology, you should generally take the following steps:

Choose the Gemmology Field You Want to Work in

As a professional gemologist, you have various career options at your disposal. You must choose the field of gemmology you want to study before determining the best course of study. You may want to read up on career options or talk to individuals currently employed in these fields.

Evaluate Your Capabilities

Your current skills should be enhanced or used in any profession. The most basic qualifications for a gemologist's position include attention to detail, strong interpersonal abilities, hand-eye coordination, and finger dexterity. Also, strong sales skills could help you succeed as a wholesale gemstone dealer or in a retail setting. If you're artistic or have a special interest in fashion, a career as a gemstone designer might be a good fit for you. And last, if you have an intense attention to detail or are meticulous by nature, you might find work as an appraiser or repairer of jewellery.

Think About Your Way of Life

Considering the pay, educational prerequisites, and employment prospects of the various professional paths available in the gemmology industry is crucial. Before selecting a specific career path, pose the following questions to yourself: What salary requirements do I have? Would I be willing to move for a job? Will I enjoy working retail hours, or would a more conventional 9–5 job suit me better?

Get Training in Gemmology

The next step is to find a gemmology school that aligns with your intended career path. Certain gemological positions necessitate a diploma, but there are other specialities where a certification is sufficient. Conducting the necessary research to determine the kind of education needed for your desired career is crucial. Most gemmology schools provide a large selection of courses. But, it's crucial to confirm that the institution you are considering offers the programme you want, particularly if it calls for specialised coursework.

Take a Diploma Programme Course

The majority of gemology-related jobs require a diploma from a recognised gemology school. For example, when enrolling in a traditional college, you must complete all the required documentation. Having a diploma from an accredited gemology school to work in jewellery manufacturing, retail, and gemological labs would be best. The examination, grading, purchasing, selling, and pricing of gems and precious metals will all be covered.

Participate in a Certificate Programme for Gemologists

For certain jobs, all you need is a certification. These programmes place less emphasis on academic coursework and more on hands-on training. Make sure you take the courses appropriate for your programme, regardless of whether you enrol in a diploma or certificate programme. You won't need to take a comprehensive final exam for certificate programmes, but you will for diploma programmes.

Participate in a Certificate Programme for Gemologists

Seek out an apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is a wise move after completing a diploma or certificate programme. Before full-time positions are offered to gemmology employees, most employers prefer that they complete at least a year of on-the-job training.

You will gain the essential practical experience to land a job as an apprentice. There might even be an official apprenticeship programme at your school.

Get a Job as a Gemologist

They may extend an offer of full-time employment to you after your apprenticeship. Before you leave your apprenticeship, discussing any potential opportunities with your manager is a good idea. But, you must have demonstrated throughout your apprenticeship that you are dependable, trustworthy, and diligent to be considered for full-time employment.

Attend Career Fairs to Make Networks With Professionals in the Industry

Throughout the year, your school will usually host career fairs for people looking for work in the industry. Not only are these events free for students to attend, but anyone can. You should bring several copies of your resume to these fairs because they are excellent networking opportunities.

Making connections through networking with people in your industry is a great way to get employment. These people usually know job openings or will gladly refer you to friends and colleagues.