The ancient art of gemology has evolved over the years as organizations like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) began to develop more up-to-date evaluation systems to formally train and certify today’s modern gemologists.
What Is a Gemologist and What Do They Do?
Simply put, gemologists specialize in appraising gemstones, but that’s no easy feat. Becoming a reputable and trusted gemologist requires an incredibly trained eye that is capable of correctly identifying, grading and classifying precious gemstones. Their talents rest in the ability to expertly evaluate a gemstone and be able to distinguish its clarity and flaws (inclusions).
The gemstone appraisal process, which is of great value to jewelers and jewelry collectors, is reliant on the findings of the gemologist. Gemologists are responsible for certifying the authenticity and quality of a precious stone and then being able to document its unique characteristics so that it can be priced accordingly.
Due to a gemologist’s breadth of knowledge in precious stones, their expertise is a highly sought after talent in the jewelry industry. In fact, any reputable jewelry store, reseller or collector would have a trustworthy gemologist on hand to appraise their pieces.
Gemologists use tools to evaluate the shape, size and color of rare gemstones and create grading reports based on their findings. And because most gemologists are extensively trained at their craft and skilled at what they do, they typically can establish what part of the world the gemstone originated from and then categorize it by factoring the stone’s specific gravity, structure, and refractive index. They are also responsible for taking into account current gemstone prices and market values so that they can offer clients, private or commercial, the best-estimated value for their precious gemstones.
What Is the Gemologist Certification Process Like?Gemologists undergo rigorous academic studies before they can explore different career paths in laboratory research, jewelry design, lapidary, appraisals, etc. Curating specific pieces for a museum is a career path some gemologists take. They are paid to offer their professional opinions on a gemstone’s worth, while lapidary is all about perfectly cutting gems into exact shapes that will then be sold at retail value.
Gemology certifications can last anywhere from three months to a year in length. Students learn about gemstone history, geographical origins, geology, and how to cut, polish, design, and set gemstones. They are familiarized and trained to use a wide variety of tools and equipment to enhance their talents over the course of their certification. Potential employers typically hire gemology graduates over other candidates because they require less on-job training.
When and if you ever find yourself shopping for a gemstone, which does include diamonds and pearls, you’ll want to get it appraised by a professional gemologist so you can be assured that your investment is priced accordingly and authenticated. When purchasing fine jewelry like engagement rings, tennis bracelets, pendants, or loose gemstones, you should first consult with a gemologist that is certified through the GIA, EGL, or HRD.