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a gemologist examining a gemstone in a ring setting Out of over 3,000 different minerals, only about 50 are commonly fashioned into gemstones.  Some of the more commonly used minerals include diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and turquoise.  Most gems, including diamonds, are fashioned by a process known as faceting, which involves cutting the surface of the mineral into a number of flat faces.  The size, number, and angles of the facets on a gemstone are mathematically calculated to maximize light dispersion, and different faceting techniques are used to create different gemstone cuts.  Other gems, such as turquoise, are fashioned by polishing, carving, or engraving.

Gemology is the study of gemstones.  While jewelers and precious stone workers cut, set, and polish these gemstones, gemologists are responsible for analyzing, describing, and certifying them.  Gemologists use microscopes, computerized tools, and other grading instruments to examine the individual stones or finished jewelry pieces and create detailed reports certifying the quality of the gemstones.  Gemologists can receive credentialing through various institutes offering programs in gemology and work in a variety of settings.  Many gemologists work for retailers, importers, manufacturers, or gemological laboratories.  They must be extremely knowledgeable about the properties of the gemstones they certify.  Many gemologists also become jewelry appraisers because the two careers are so closely linked.

Gemstones are minerals which are relatively rare, durable, and have been fashioned to be beautiful.  Gemstones of all kinds have been used in jewelry as personal adornment for thousands of years, and continue to be in demand, ensuring a favorable employment outlook for the highly trained gemologists who study them.  For more information about the field of gemology, visit the Gemological Institute of America website.

Gemologists in each State and Washington, DC


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About Gemologists