Study and appraise individual gemstones for quality and imperfections.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$19,000 – $61,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Gemologists do?

Simply put, gemology is the study of gems. What characteristics distinguish blue topaz from the similar-looking aquamarine? How do you identify a synthetic gem? What’s the freezing or melting point of different gems?

Gemologists answer these questions, and do so much more.

For starters, as a Gemologist, you are also an Appraiser. Due to your wealth of knowledge on the subject, customers rely on you to carefully analyze their family heirloom or metal detector find. You use special tools to evaluate the piece’s color, size, shape, and other qualities. Whether the gem is in raw form or mounted in a ring, necklace, or other piece of jewelry, you consider the current market and give the customer your best estimate of its value.

A Gemologist might work at a jewelry store, auction house, or museum, performing slightly different duties in each place. Although any of these places will allow you to handle rare and common gems alike, a jewelry counter might use your skills to sell merchandise, while a museum might use your expertise to value donations or potential purchases. At an auction house, you would propose a reserve amount, and in your own shop, you might write up a professional estimate for insurance purposes.

However you use your skills, you’ll need to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. Values fluctuate wildly in today’s volatile markets, so you subscribe to industry journals and newsletters, watch the sales at auction houses, and keep an eye on the investment markets.

Should I be a Gemologist?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Lapidarist

    How to become a Gemologist

    Gemologists generally graduate from high school and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate’s degree to increase your chances of finding a good job. Check out these schools offering Gemologist-related education!
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