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What are the Different Gemologist Jobs?

By J. Leach
Updated May 17, 2024
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Gemologists are detail-orientated professionals who inspect, grade, and appraise gems. To enter into a gemological career, students must first obtain their graduate gemologist certificate from an accredited institution. A graduate gemologist is presented with a wide array of gemologist jobs that can take him from the mine to an auction house. Gemologist jobs can be found in appraising gems and jewelry, mining, jewelry designing, and other fields.

With the increase of artificial stones on the market, a gemologist must be able to discern which stones are real and which are artificial. This task is further complicated as he also must be able to tell if the stone has been color treated. In some cases, stones have also had their cracks, or fractures, filled so that they appear to the naked eye to be flawless—thereby seeming to increase their value. For these reasons, gemologist jobs as an appraiser with a jewelry store, auction house, or as an independent contractor are very important. An appraiser can give a customer written documentation of the value of a piece and its unique characteristics for identification, insurance, and resale purposes.

Gemologists are often employed in the mining and manufacturing process. They are better able to assess the quality of the raw stones found and determine which stones would benefit from a particular cut. The stones also need to be graded before they are sold to a wholesaler in order to calculate how much they are worth on the market. To take part in the manufacturing process, a gemologist has to be specifically trained for certain specialized gemologist jobs, such as gem grinder, gem polisher, jewel setter, and jewel engraver. The gems or finished pieces of jewelry are bought by a wholesaler who will sell them to a retail store.

Some manufacturers employ a gemologist as a jewelry designer or as an aid to a jewelry designer. They are also hired to buy diamonds or colored stones and very often you have gemologists who specialize in one or the other. A gemologist can find a career in a jewelry store as a sales associate, jewelry buyer, appraiser, or manager.

Gemologists can also find gemologist jobs in academia as teachers, jewelry historians, or lab technicians. In a laboratory, gems that are sent by a customer or a jewelry store can be thoroughly analyzed and graded. The laboratory will then issue a statement of their findings to the customer. Research laboratories also study how stones color can be altered and how fissures are filled.

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Discussion Comments
By anon353249 — On Oct 29, 2013

I went to a pawn shop and thought it was so cool seeing all the stuff they had. Maybe it's something I could really get into.

By irontoenail — On Sep 27, 2012

@croydon - Gemology jobs aren't exactly common, at least not these days. I think it's usually tacked onto another job, isn't it, like jewelry makers?

There's likely a middle ground that would make everyone happy. Personally, I think in a few decades we'll have the advanced technology to mine for diamonds and other stones without disturbing the environment so much and the problem will be solved without people losing their jobs.

By croydon — On Sep 26, 2012

@bythewell - I don't disagree with you in principal, but in reality those diamonds and other jewels provide jobs for a lot of people all over the world. If the majority of people just decided they would go with whatever was prettiest, rather than assigning an arbitrary value to certain kinds of gems, all the gemologists, for example, would basically be out of business.

Besides, gems and gemology matter to a lot of people, in the same way that paintings matter to a lot of people. You might have a perfect copy of a Van Gogh in your living room, but most people wouldn't consider it to be as valuable as the original.

There's a real art and science to being a gemologist, it's not just determining which stones are more valuable than others. You also have to figure out the cuts that will most make them shine, and many gemologists are also jewelers.

By bythewell — On Sep 26, 2012

It really annoys me that man made gems are considered to be somehow inferior to so-called real gems, even though they are essentially the exact same thing. When you need a professional to tell the difference, why should it matter to you?

Except that the real gems have been dug up from the earth, probably destroying massive amounts of landscape and polluting the environment while they are at it.

Not to mention the social unrest and crime that they can cause. I can see why people would prefer diamonds to crystals or glass, for example, because they really are prettier, but if you need a certified gemologist to tell you whether a diamond has been soaked in blood or grown in a lab, I think that's heading toward stupidity.

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