The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Right Degree

Are you fascinated by gems? Would you like to learn how to cuts gems, evaluate them and separate the precious stones from synthetic ones? If so, how about exploring gemology as a profession?

Gemology is the science and art of identifying and evaluating gemstones. It is considered a geoscience and a branch of mineralogy. Gemologists are trained to identify and evaluate gems. They are also involved in grading, appraising, marketing and stylising.

What do I have to do?

Gemologists identify, sort and grade gems apart from advising jewellery designers about their compatibility with particular metals and settings. They need to develop extraordinary powers of observation, attention to detail, precision, excellent hand-eye co-ordination, an objective approach and great sense of responsibility. Gemologists are knowledgeable about customs and traditions of people and the latest global trends in fashion jewellery. Some of the most precious stones that gemologists deal with include diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

With every development of technology in gem synthesis or gem treatments, gemologists require more and more scientific training and instruments to do their work. To sift treated gems from the untreated ones, the natural from the synthetic ones is a real challenge. As gemstones are not standard products with an assigned market value, the first step to determine the value of a given gem is to identify it. The second is to grade it.

With advances in gemstone synthesis, gemology has become an important field of study. Gemologists value stones based on a number of factors, including cut, colour, quality and clarity. The tools used by gemologists for the identification and grading of different gemstones range from the simple and familiar to the high-tech and exotic. Most gemstones can be identified with the help of a few basic tools. Often, a single test is not conclusive, and gemologists need to perform several tests to achieve a positive identification. One of the most useful tools for gemologists is the binocular microscope.

Another required tool for gemologists is the refractometer. The spectroscope is sometimes used to separate the natural from the synthetic gem materials, as variations in chemical composition can be revealed in the absorption spectrum of light transmitted through the stone.

What should I study?

You should have completed your Plus Two (any stream) or graduation. You should also have a good command over English. A sense of design and an appreciation for quality is also needed. Excellent power of observation, good hand-eye co-ordination, attention to detail and the ability to concentrate are some of the other qualities that are required to excel in this area.

What next?

A bright future awaits professionals in the fast-track gems and jewellery industry, which is witnessing double digit annual rates of growth on the domestic and export fronts. As a result, gemology has emerged as a hot new career option for youth with creative skills, aesthetic sense and colour sense. A huge domestic market for gems and precious jewellery is also emerging. India is the largest consumer of gold in the world and has excellent infrastructure for diamond-cutting. Industry estimates boast that 95 per cent of the world’s cut and polished diamonds, accounting for 60 per cent of global output in terms of value, are processed in India.

Trained and qualified gemologists are in great demand and are employed by jewellery houses on starting salaries of Rs 8,000-15,000 with prospects of quick upward mobility. For self-employed gemologists, the sky is the limit provided they are creative and enterprising.

Jaipur is among the world’s largest gem cutting centres and the numerous jewellery export houses there offer good positions to those with training in the latest trends and developments in this emerging field.

The gems and jewellery sector is expanding with international companies like De Beers, Cartier and Argyle promoting diamonds in India and big brands like Tanishq, Asmi and Orra entering the jewellery scene. It is therefore necessary that people associated with the gems and jewellery trade learn the international terminology and techniques of conducting their trade and business and create an international environment of quality and ethical trade practices by taking scientific training in the field.

Some of the related occupations that can be explored are that of gem-cutters, hand engravers, watchmakers and repairers. Jewellers planning to open their own store should have experience in selling, as well as knowledge of marketing and business management.

where to study

  • Gemology Institute of India, Mumbai.
  • Indian Institute of Gemology, New Delhi.
  • Indian Gemological Institute, New Delhi.
  • St Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
  • Jewellery Design and Training Institute (JDTI), NOIDA.
  • Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Jaipur.
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