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Gemmology: a rising profession

Gemmology has been the art of identifying and evaluating gemstones. In today’s world, it has become a science and profession dealing with precious and semi-precious stones. A branch of mineralogy, it is considered a geoscience.

education Updated: Nov 03, 2011 16:33 IST

The lowdown
Gemmology has been the art of identifying and evaluating gemstones. In today’s world, it has become a science and profession dealing with precious and semi-precious stones. A branch of mineralogy, it is considered a geoscience. Gemologists are an asset to the jewellery industry

Clockwork
10.30am: Meet with retailers to look at quality of the latest shipment of gems
11.30am: Prepare and finalise stock itinerary
Noon: Clean high grade and sensitive equipment
1.30pm: Lunch
2.30pm: Examine global trends in gemmology online and through hard manuscripts
4pm: Deal with customers
6pm: Itemise stocks available
7pm: Pack up for the day

The payoff
The pay scale varies with not just the level of training but also the nature of the employer. While gemmologists with basic training can earn between Rs10,000 to Rs20,000 a month, those with an advanced level of training and experience can look at a pay package upwards of R30,000 a month. A self-employed gemmologist involved in retail starts slow but once established, can look at a seven-figure income per annum

Skills/TRAITS
* A genuine interest in precious and semi-precious stones
* An eye for detail, capable of seeing the minutest of details that determine the grade, quality and worth of a stone
* A deep knowledge of not just stones but also of equipment
* Good communication skills to deal with customers
* The high cost retail dealings require integrity and honesty in customer dealings to win the buyers’ trust

Getting there
Most institutions offer a graduate gemmologist (GG) degree to those interested. Students need to clear a practical-cum-theoretical test to earn the GG credential.
An undergraduate may also apply for a degree in gemmology but there are few reputable institutions offering degrees to school graduates. The tuition fee for a typical six-month course abroad is between Rs4 lakh to Rs8 lakh. A six-month course in a private college can cost about Rs1 lakh and less than half of that amount from a government institute

Institutes and URLs
* Gemological Institute of America, Carlsbad, USA
www.gia.edu
* GIA, Mumbai
www.giaindia.in
* International Gemological Institute, New Delhi

Pros and cons
* A highly lucrative field
* ‘Lab-monotony’ can be combated by touring major gemstone producing areas

The demand for skilled professionals is on a rise due to growing awareness of certification Tehmasp Printer, MD, International Gemological Institute, New Delhi