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 from 2006 to 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 October 2009, 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).
A career as a gemologist is a great 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.