How-To Guides

How Do I Become a Certified Gemologist?

Shreya Matta

Shreya Matta

May 27, 2022

If you have a keen interest in precious gems, you can find several career options in the gem industry. However, if you are a beginner, then it can be difficult to figure out how to get started. But worry not, to help you on the journey of becoming a certified gemologist, we have provided a simple and comprehensive step-by-step guide that will tell you which step to take first and then what to do next. So read on to find how to become a certified gemologist and find gemologist jobs.

Who is a gemologist?

Gemological Institute of America - Kimball's Jewelers

Gemology is one of the oldest sciences, and it is about studying precious gemstones. A gemologist studies this science and uses his knowledge to analyze the value, quality, and characteristics of valuable gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphire, etc.

A certified gemologist is a qualified professional who uses microscopes, grading machines, and computerized tools to examine gemstones and prepare reports that describe their qualities and features.  Mostly, gemologists complete a gemology course or diploma before pursuing gemologist jobs.

The gem industry is very vast and provides several career options to a certified gemologist. If you have done a gemology course and obtained training, finding gemologist jobs and getting them will not be difficult for you.

Career options for a gemologist

As a certified gemologist, you will have several career options. Some of the popular certified gemologist jobs are:

Gem assorter

A gem assorter is a professional who segregates precious stones on the basis of their characteristics and qualities. He uses different instruments like a microscope or a refractometer to check the internal structures and surfaces of the gemstones.

This helps him find the rare pieces and separate them. It also allows him to find defects and flaws in the structures and separate them into other groups on the basis of quality and features. Gem assorters can provide very knowledgeable advice to their customers about which kind of gem to use with a specific metal.

Career in Gemology

Diamond grader

Diamond graders are lab technicians who work in the labs and use different instruments to analyze diamonds. They check how accurate the angle positions and cuts are in a diamond. They also evaluate other similar characteristics.

A diamond grader can hold a diamond in light and tell its quality based on how light enters and leaves the surface of the diamond. This is a good career option for people who like using instruments and dealing with diamonds.

Gem polisher

Another career option as a certified gemologist you have is gem polishing. The duties of a gem polisher include making the raw and dull surface of a gem clear and polished. They can work with gem manufacturers and jewellery manufacturers to polish new gems with ram and uneven surfaces.

Gem polishers can also find gemologist jobs at jewellery stores that polish old oness of their customers to remove dullness and scratches and make old look like new ones.

Auction gemologist

It is an exciting career that gives you an opportunity to get your hands on some very rare and amazing precious gemstones. Auction gemologists have extensive knowledge of gemstones. They can separate low-quality gemstones from high-quality gemstones with only a little effort.

Gemologists examine cuts, and angles of gemstones, and evaluate their surface and similar features before sending them for auction in the auction houses. They also get their hands on the amazing collection of private sellers.

Gemstone jeweler

If you have an interest in designing, fashion and jewellery, this career could be right for you. Gemstone jewelers work at the jewellery stores that sell pieces of jewellery having precious gems. They have good sales and marketing skills. This career option will give you a chance to try your skills on antique and high-quality pieces of jewellery.

Gem manufacturer

Gem manufacturers are specialized in converting a rough gemstone into a beautifully crafted stone. They use lapidary arts to cut and design rough gemstones. Some gem manufacturers cut gems for custom jewellery and give their gems a unique look. They often work with jewellery designers who have beautiful designs for wearable art. Gem manufacturers bring the ideas of designers to life.

A step-by-step guide to becoming a certified gemologist

This simple guide will tell you how to become a certified gemologist and get your first job.

How Do You Become A certified Gemologist?

Explore different career options for a gemologist

The gem industry provides several career options to a certified gemologist. Therefore, before stepping into this field, figure out which gemology career you want to pursue. As a certified gemologist, you can work as a gem cutter, manufacturer, jeweller, gem appraiser, grader, and whatnot.

This field also gives you a chance to work in different sectors, including the mining industry, gem testing/research lab, jewellery business management, auction house, and jewellery manufacturing industry, etc. Take your time to study all career options for a certified gemologist. Explore all fields on the internet and find which field matches your interest the most.

Evaluate your skillset

Having skills that are required to excel in a particular area of gemology will benefit you and make the whole journey of becoming a certified gemologist easier. Mostly, gemologists are patient, detail-oriented, and have great hand-eye coordination.

Think about what are your skills and interest. If you have good communication skills and convincing power, then maybe becoming a salesperson in a gem store is right for you. Are you good at using microscopes and other lab instruments? If yes, then you could do well as a lab grader. If you are interested in fashion and trendy designs, gemologist jobs for gem designers could be the right choice.

So, take your time to assess your skill set and interest. Choose a gemology area after assessing your skills and interests.

Think about your lifestyle

When you are deciding what area of gemology you should choose, ask yourself whether it matches your lifestyle or not. Some areas of gemology require special courses, certificates, diplomas, and training. Getting enrolled in these courses needs time and money. Ask yourself whether you have them or not?

Similarly, the salary of a certified gemologist depends on the sector in which he works. Therefore, choose the sector that meets your future salary goals well. Job availability will also vary from one certified gemologist job to the other. So, determine whether the area you are choosing provides sufficient annual certified gemologist jobs or not.

Dedicating your life to a profession is a big decision. That is why it is important to do your research about all fields, and check their pros and cons before making the final decision of choosing a particular field.

Find a suitable gemology school

Now that you have figured out which career path you want to pursue, it is time to decide the education requirements for that career. Most gemologist jobs have the requirement of a diploma and course. Some gemologist jobs also require certification. So, first, determine what are the specific education requirements of the career you want to pursue?

After that, start looking for gemology schools in your area. Gemology schools will give you a list of a wide variety of courses. But if you want to have specialization in a field that is rare, make sure that the school you are choosing teaches that specialized area too.

If you cannot decide which education you should get, you can visit a gemology school and meet their representatives. Share your confusion with them then they will provide you with the best diploma or course options they have on the menu.

While searching for a gemology school, make sure it is affordable and in your area. If you cannot attend on-campus classes due to one reason or another then check whether the school offers online classes or not.

Enroll in a gemology diploma/course program

Gemology schools offer different courses and diploma programs. The aim of these courses is to make you able to analyze, buy, sell, and grade precious gemstones. They teach different concepts of how to differentiate between low-quality and a good quality instruments. You will learn to use different instruments and a lot more.

The length of these courses and diplomas varies from one school to the other. Visit the school and learn what it will teach you in a course that you are interested in. Choose a course after reading all details related to it. A diploma/course from a well-reputed gemology school will help you find the best gemologist jobs and make your name in this field.

Get a gemology certificate

Some gemologist jobs will not ask you to get a diploma, but they will need a certification. So, enroll yourself in a certification program that teaches the skills you need to become a certified gemologist.

Before you decide to choose a gemology certificate over a gemology diploma or course, know that certificates do not focus on academic coursework as their main focus is on the technical stuff and training. So, if an employer wants to hire a person who has training as well as sufficient knowledge related to gemstones, then he will most probably choose the person who has a gemology diploma over the person who has a certificate.

So, carefully choose the education type or the certificate type. The popular certification programs that people enroll in to become a certified gemologist are those in hard shape grooving. It can also fetch a certificate in colored gemstone cutting, diamond grading, and  in jewelry design.

Get an apprenticeship

Most employers prefer to hire a certified gemologist who has at least a one-year of on-the-job training experience. This assures them that they will not have to teach the basics to the certified gemologist, which will save both their time and money. Some employers even provide this training before hiring a person officially.

So, after completing your course or certification program, it is better to join an apprenticeship program. These programs will give you a chance to do the things that you learned in school practically. While searching for apprenticeship programs, start from your school and ask them if they work with these programs or not. The Internet is also a great place to search for the best apprenticeships in your area.

Look for gemologist jobs

Now that you have completed both schooling and training, it is time to find the best employment as a certified gemologist. If you have done an apprenticeship, then there is a high chance that the company will offer you a permanent position as a certified gemologist based on your performance. You can ask them whether they are currently hiring gemologists or not.

You can also go to career fairs to get an opportunity to learn about certified gemologist jobs in the area of your interest. Many gemology schools arrange career fairs every year. These fairs are free and provide a great opportunity to meet people of the same interest and make good relations with them. While going to a career fair to hunt for certified gemologist jobs, take your latest resume with you so you can hand it out to the companies that you think match your career and earning goals the best.

Online job boards also provide the latest information regarding certified gemologist jobs. So, visit these boards occasionally and hunt for jobs whenever you can. If you have a good resume (schooling from a good gemology school and training), then your chances of getting a job as a certified gemologist will be high. So, do not lose hope. Keep searching and applying for gemologist jobs until you get your dream job.

How long does it take to become a certified gemologist?

It depends on the length of the certification program you chose to become a certified gemologist. Usually, these programs vary from 3 months to 12 months. You will become a certified gemologist the moment you complete your program.

How much money can you make as a certified gemologist?

Your salary as a certified gemologist will depend on several factors, for instance, your position, job location, company, your experience, etc. These all factors will determine your salary. But on average, the salary of a certified gemologist starts at $30,000 per year.


To become a certified gemologist, you can follow these steps:

  1. Education: Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent.
  2. Gemology Courses: Enroll in gemology courses offered by reputable institutions or organizations such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
  3. Practical Experience: Gain hands-on experience by working with gemstones under the guidance of experienced gemologists or in a gemstone-related industry.
  4. Certification: Successfully complete a gemology certification program, such as the Graduate Gemologist (GG) program offered by the GIA.
  5. Continuing Education: Stay updated with the latest developments in gemology through workshops, seminars, and professional conferences.
  6. Networking: Build connections within the gemstone industry to enhance career opportunities and knowledge sharing.

Final Thoughts

The jewelry and gem industry is huge and provides several jobs to certified gemologists every year. Enroll yourself in a reputable gemology school and get training before applying for gemologist jobs. If you have a good qualifications and work experience, getting your dream job won’t be a problem.

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