Great money and ‘ sparkly’ prospects, gemol­ogy is fast emerg­ing as a sought af­ter ca­reer

India Today - - GEMOLOGY - By Humra Afroz

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

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