Gems are an important part of Indian culture. Since time immemorial, Indians have coveted both precious and semi-precious stones such as diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies and the like for their astrological significance. Gemstones were also looked upon as symbols of power and prosperity. Nothing much has changed as far as the utility of these precious materials goes.
However, the art of finding gemstones, grading and evaluating them and processing them for the end user has changed radically. Gemmology or the science of the study of gems and precious metals has emerged as a new line of study and as a new career path for job seekers.
Now-a-days everyone seeks quality assurance and the gems industry is no different. The owners want to posses the best of gems to showcase it to their prospective buyers or retailers. The retailers on their part want to give the best to the customers and outdo other competitors. Finally, the end-user also wants genuine and high quality gems and gem encrusted jewellery for personal use.
The need of all these stakeholders is authentic and ably catered to by the modern day gemmologist. A profession in gemology is not just confined to laboratories and conducting tests for grading and evaluating gem stones. In fact as a gemmologist you have innumerable job opportunities ranging from working in a diamond mine to the owner of a popular gems and jewellery brand.
To take up a short-term certificate or diploma in any gemology related study program you must have completed your schooling or 10+2 level and must be at least 18 years old. These courses provide basic information regarding the identification of different gemstones. Also, principles of evaluating and grading cut gems are a part of these study programs. Some of these short term courses are: Gem Identification Certificate course, Diamond Grading Certificate course, Certificate course in Cut Design and Analysis, Pearl Grading, Polished Diamond Grading course.
Apart from these short-term courses, you can go for a diploma in gemology. The duration of these study programs can range from anywhere between nine weeks to one-year.
The curriculum of these programs incorporates the study of various techniques and instruments that are used in the gemmological industry. These courses also provide you with hands on experience on gemmological related tools and instruments by way of practical tests.
Although you can get into these diploma courses with bare minimum information regarding precious stones but the evaluation process in these institutes is very stringent.
The basic prerequisite for applying for a diploma in gemology is that you must be a graduate in any discipline. Some art and design colleges across the nation also offer jewellery design as a part of their bachelors and masters level curriculum.
You can either opt for a study program in gemology after the 10+2 level or after completing your graduation. Anyhow, you must have a deep attachment towards precious and semi-precious stones to move towards this industry for employment purpose.
Is it the Right Career for Me?
Gemology is a science and art rolled into one. To take up gemology as a lucrative career you need to have interest in the study of various precious and semi-precious stones.
You ought to have adequate knowledge about the way these materials develop in the depths of the earth. You must have a discerning eye such that you can spot even the minute changes in the constitution of different gems and stones. This quality immensely helps gemmologist to grade and evaluate gemstones.
Next, you must be prepared to work for long hours in gemmological laboratories and units where cutting and polishing or treatment of gems takes place. Other essential qualities for this profile are good communication skills, ample knowledge of technological advancements in this field and personal integrity when making high profile transactions in the gem market.
What would it Cost Me?
Like costly gems the course in gemology is equally costly in spite they being short-term courses. A six-day short-term course from the Gemmological Institute of India (GII), Mumbai costs around Rs 25,000.
The three-and-a-half month (regular) Diploma in Gemology from the same institute costs around Rs 72,000 and the same program if done through a one-year correspondence costs around Rs 57,000.
Other short-term certificate and diploma programs cost between Rs 25,000 to Rs 60,000 approximately depending upon the selected course.
The Indian chapter of the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) offers the following courses in Gemology:
- A seven weeks Graduate Diamond Diploma that costs around Rs 2,13,000.
- A 19 weeks Graduate Colour Stones Diploma with a fee of around Rs 3,78,000.
- A 26 weeks Graduate Gemmologist Diploma costing Rs 5,71,000 approximately
- A nine weeks Jewellery Design Certificate with a fee of Rs 1,70,000
The fees of other short-term programs from GIA are in the range between Rs 7,500 to Rs 60,000.
HDFC bank extends education loan facilities to students who are interested in seeking admission to various study programs of GII, Mumbai.
The job prospects for a gemmologist are plenty. You can look for employment in a wide variety of places. You can enter the mining or the gem exporting industry. Then there is the scope to work in the jewellery designing and jewellery retailing business.
You can also find ample of opportunities in industrial units specialising in gem cutting and polishing and treatment of rough gems. In fact, the diamond polishing industry in India is one of the largest foreign exchange earning sectors in the country.
Other options include opportunities in gem and precious metal evaluating and testing laboratories and gem certifying bodies. Furthermore, you can look for a job in units producing gemmological tools and instruments and those manufacturing artificially created gemstones.
Last but not the least you can take up a teaching assignment in any of the institutions offering courses in gemology or even set up your own independent unit.
As a gemmologist, your pay scale will largely be governed by your qualification in this field and by the status of your employer. A basic course in gemology can fetch you a salary in the range of Rs 10,000 to Rs 18,000 a month. On the other hand a higher qualification can help you command a Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 package.
If you are running your own independent unit then the profits you earn can easily run into crores of rupees annually depending upon the scale of business.
Demand and Supply
There is a great demand for trained gemmologists these days. The growth in demand for these professionals is mainly propelled by the requirements of people who want to buy genuine gem stones.
Moreover, the gems and jewellery industry has gone through a sea change in the recent past. Buyers and even retailers have become more quality conscious and as a result, there is all the more need for expert gemmologists.
On the supply side, various institutions across the country are trying their best to meet the demand for professionals in this field. Being a relatively new discipline, gemology is slowly but steadily gaining coin in the society.
What’s more interesting is the fact that gemology in our country is intricately associated with astrology. In this context gemology will never ever lose its shine and will continue to remain a viable career path for job aspirants.
Gem cutting and polishing and treatment and grading of raw precious and semi-precious stones are big businesses in India. This industry and allied activities such as jewellery designing, making and retailing and gemstone consultancy will always keep the market hot for this professional profile.
You may get the chance to visit foreign lands depending upon the nature of your profile and the organisation you are working for. You may get to travel internationally to buy or sell raw or finished gems and precious metals or display them at international trade fairs and exhibitions.
As a reputed gem consultant who caters to high profile multinational clientele, you may have to travel across the globe. Since astrology as a science has started getting recognition in the western world you can even start your own gem business there.
- This is literally a star-studded profession where you will constantly have to deal with precious and semi-precious stones and minerals.
- This is a highly profitable business and earnings are sky-high.
- There is a great possibility of meeting the rich and the famous of the society especially if you are providing gemstone consultancy services.
- It requires hard work and high-level of skill to flourish in this industry.
- You will have to spend endless hours in gem grading and polishing laboratories to prove your expertise in this field.
- The initial cost of setting up your own unit is high and may deter budding gemmologists who want to establish their own independent business.
Different Roles, Different Names
The gems and jewellery industry is one of the highest foreign exchange earning sectors in India. Moreover, this industry provides livelihood to hundreds of thousands of people across the country. The main roles associated with this field are as follows:
- Gemmologist: Responsible for conducting a variety of tasks associated with gems. Major tasks include gem assorting and grading, gem evaluation, testing, dealing with rough stones and so on. Other important roles include gem cutting and polishing, providing gemstone consultancy, treatment of raw gem stones and manufacture of artificial gems.
- Diamond Grader: A professional who has the expertise to grade diamonds according to the established diamond grading norms.
- Jewellery Designer: A professional who conceptualises new jewellery designs and styles keeping in account the changing demand of fashion, time, taste and preference of the society at large.
- Sales Personnel: Responsible for selling gems, precious minerals, jewellery and gemology related tools and equipment in the national and in the international market.
- Gemstone Auction Manager: A person who takes care of the entire auctioning process of various gemstones in a auction house.
- Mining industry
- Jewellery making and designing units
- Jewellery shops and showrooms
- Gem exporting organisations
- Manufacturers producing gemmological instruments and gem cutting and polishing tools
- Units specialising in the cutting and polishing of gemstones
- Top notch goldsmiths
- Various gem evaluation and testing laboratories
- Gemstone and precious metal grading and quality certifying agencies
- Industries manufacturing synthetic or artificial gems
- Antique and art auction houses
Tips for Getting Hired
- Certification from a reputed institution is essential to get a good start in this industry.
- You must have adequate information on the latest trends and technologies in this business.
- You must possess good communication skills to effectively transact with dealers, retailers and customers.
- It is better to specialise in a particular area of gemology such as grading, cutting and polishing, jewellery designing, gem consultancy and so on to succeed.
- If you plan to become a gem consultant then knowledge of gems in respect of their astrological importance is a must.