What is a Gemmologist?



A gemmologist uses testing equipment such as refractometer, spectroscope, microscope, etc. to identify the nature of gemstones. Sometimes more sophisticated testing procedures are necessary to identify synthetic and treated diamonds and gems. Evaluates confidently precious stones based and prepares special identification and appraisal reports.

Working Conditions

May work regular hours, on contract or freelance basis. Work may be full-time but more often is part of a another job in a jewellery business. Work is usually performed in an office environment and independently or in consultation with fellow employees. Work is usually done sitting or standing for short periods and requires good dexterity and eye-sight with perfect colour vision.

Preparation Required

Certified gemmologists require a minimum of grade 12 with interest in the earth and general sciences. A manual dexterity is required in addition to keyboarding skills.

Various international institutions such as the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA), Gem-A (Great Britain) are offering  gemmological training; the Canadian Institute of Gemmology offers a self-guided professional development program leading to the the international recognized designation Accredited Gemmologist (C.I.G.)®.

Employment, Advancement, Outlook

Work opportunities exist mainly in the jewellery industry; however, it is difficult to find employment as a gemmologist. Most job opportunitites are found in the retail end of the industry. Other careers such as police, customs officer, insurance agents sometimes need gemmological training. There is a definite need for trained gemmologists in the future.


Starting salaries are similar to those found in the jewellery retail trade. With more experience gemmologists quickly move above minimum wage and may earn betweeen $ 20,000 and 30,000 depending on their job.

Related Careers

Geologist with a more academic background

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) Canada lists the gemmologist under 7344 Jewellers, Watch Repairers and Related Occupations. In Alberta also refer to OCCinfo for Gemmologist.