How to Become a Gemologist in the US

How about pursuing a career that enables you to work with precious stones such as diamonds and pearls? Feels exciting? Well, read on to learn what it takes to become a gemologist.

What do gemologists do?

Gemologists are scientists who study gem stones. Their job involves:

  • Using microscopes and other tools to perform tests aimed at identifying previously unidentified gem stones
  • Examining various gem stones to examine their genuineness and quality
  • Compiling and producing grading reports – these are reports highlighting the physical and geological properties of gem stones
  • Appraising gem stones – this is the process of determining the true value or monetary worth of various gem stones
  • Advising jewellery manufacturers on the use of various precious stones.

Work environment

The working conditions for gemologists vary from workplace to workplace. For instance, those who work in jewelry stores spend their time interacting with shoppers. On the other hand, gemologists working in gemological laboratories utilize their workday conducting a range of chemical experiments.

Regardless of workplace, gemologists are typically on the job from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.


How much do gemologists earn annually? The following table provides the details:

Occupation level

Annual salary

Starting gemologists

$30,800 - $46,200

Average salary

$37,400 - $56,100

Experienced gemologists

$44,000 - $66,000

Source: gemologistsalary

Entry requirements

So, what training do you need to become a gemologist? To begin with, gemology is a wide field that requires individuals who have the desire to gather a lot of information.

The best way to get started is by pursuing gemology courses that are offered by the:

  • Gemological Institute of America
  • International School of Gemology

It is also possible to enter the profession through degree in jewelry design or geology. You will, however, undergo intensive on-the-job training before you are fully qualified.

The American Gem Society also offers the certified gemologist certification, which you can pursue to improve your employment prospects.

Important qualities

To do the duties of a gemologist competently you need:

  • Strong analytical skills
  • Strong practical and technical skills
  • Good observation skills coupled with a high level of attention to details
  • Good visualization skills
  • Good report writing skills
  • Finger dexterity
  • Good eye-hand coordination
  • The ability to concentrate for long periods of time.

Career development

The secret to getting ahead in the gemology field is to earn advanced degrees. As such, you should focus on earning a master’s degree in gemology.

It is also advisable to pursue any of the following additional American Gem Society certifications:

  • Certified Gemologist Appraiser
  • Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser
  • Registered Jeweller

The Society also offers membership opportunities, which you can grab to gain access to conferences and other professional development resources.

Employment opportunities

As a qualified gemologist, you can hunt for jobs in:

  • Jewellery stores
  • Museums
  • Gemological laboratories
  • Mining firms

With vast work experience and a graduate degree in gemology, you can advance to become a senior gemologist. You could also secure lecturing jobs in colleges and universities.

Career development

Here comes the least exciting part. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of jewelers and precious stone workers, including gemologists, will decline by 10 percent from 2012 through 2022.

Tough times ahead? You could say so! To succeed in this profession, earn the certifications listed above. They will enable you to expand your expertise, making you more attractive to a range of employers