ALL THAT GLITTERS
Great money and ‘ sparkly’ prospects, gemology is fast emerging as a sought after career
With the Indian tendency to splurge on jewelery and gems - whether it's for a special occasion like weddings, or as a good omen during festivals, the profession of gemology has been in existence, albeit unofficially, since time immemorial. Even in the era of kings and queens, indulging in jewels was a favorite pastime, although, it was a luxury only the rich could afford then.
As the lines between the proletariats and bourgeois started blurring and the former came to assume more spending power, the market for gems and jewels expanded massively too. Today, as a consequence, the demand for gemologists is on an all time high.
In this period of evolution, even the profession has undergone a sea change— from being a family business, with no qualification needed as the ancestors passed on their pearls of wisdom regarding the trade to the younger generations and the latter further honing their skills with more hands- on training to now— gemology has evolved into a lucrative and sought after newage job option, requiring qualification, aptitude as well as expertise.
Science and art rolled into one, gemology is technically the study of gemstones or semi- precious stones. Therefore, training in gemology involves understanding the genesis, structure, classification and properties of various gems and stones.
To be a successful gemologist, one needs to have adequate knowledge of minerals and other organic materials such as amber, corals and pearls that are used in jewellery making— to be able to distinguish natural gemstones from the synthetic ones and the imitations, so one knows real diamond from glass or a synthetic diamond. A discerning eye so that you can spot even the minutest of changes in the constitution of different gemstones to grade them and evaluate their price is thus an important prerequisite. Also, one must also be prepared to work for long hours in gemological laboratories and units where cutting and polishing or treatment of gems take place. Good communication skills, ample knowledge of technological advancements in this field and personal integrity when making high profile transactions in the gem market are also equally important.
A course in gemology is required for a successful stint. Candidates who have qualified 10+ 2 or equivalent examination from a recognised educational institute can apply for a diploma, degree or certificate course in this field. Various NIFTS across the country, Indian Institute of Gemology, New Delhi, and The Gemological Institute of India, Mumbai are some institutions where courses in gemology are offered. Along with this, you can also do an add- on course like jewelry designing or diamond grading.
Though these courses give you knowledge, gems require experience for identification and testing, so training with jewelers before taking the final plunge will give you the needed exposure as well as experience.
The earnings of a gemologist usually vary, depending on expertise and the organisation working with. Self employed gemologists can earn much more, again based on their skill and marketing capabilities.
Gemology is considered a geoscience and a branch of mineralogy