What is a Gemologist:

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What is a Gemologist?

When someone claims to be a gemologist it means that the person has studied the identification and grading of gemstones.  This individual has been taught how to evaluate gemstones, which differs from the term valuate as will be discussed further in the following paragraphs.

Most gemologists in the United States have been trained by the reputable organization known as the Gemological Institute of America.  This is where one can earn the prestigious Graduate Gemologist diploma.  Most of those who earn this diploma will go on to work in the gem and jewelry industry and never bother to attend any type of continuous training after they complete their initial training.

Although continual training is not required, it is advisable to attend various educational meetings such as seminars, conferences and workshops. Doing so will enable the gemologist to stay abreast of the latest developments in gems and jewelry as well as the current trends in these markets.  Therefore, as the field of gemology is constantly changing, the gemologist should attend continuing education classes at least every two years.

Working with Gemstones

The phrase “evaluate a gemstone” means to identify it and assign a grade to it. Although this is an oversimplification of a complex subject, it allows us to point out the difference between evaluate and valuate. When we valuate a gemstone or any other piece of jewelry, it means that we place a value on the item. This is where one’s training in appraisal theory, ethics and methodology becomes very important.  Since this training is one which is not offered by the Gemological Institute of America, it must be obtained elsewhere.  The organizations listed below are highly recommended choices for gaining this knowledge:

  • National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
  • American Society of Appraisers

The Benefit of Acquiring Further Training in Appraisal theory, Ethics and Methodology

There are a few distinct benefits of acquiring further training in the areas of appraisal theory, ethics and methodology. First, by acquiring additional training, the gemologist will become more reputable as a whole. Individuals who entrust their gems and jewelry to one in this field often find that a more educated individual is likely to have more expertise in the area. By having such additional education, the gemologist is holding himself/herself out to the public as being more knowledgeable in this field.

Another benefit to gaining further training in the various theories of appraisal, ethics and methodology is that it gives the gemologist a better understanding of what they do on a daily basis. Not only will they know how to evaluate the gems and jewelry but they will then know how to valuate such items. Gaining knowledge in these areas will make the gemologist more well rounded and often better equipped to do their job.


  1. Pincatada imbricata says:

    Having academic credentials in gemology from GIA certainly helps. If a person studies gems independently for pleasure and has acquired academic credentials in the discipline, they may call themselves a gemologist, based on their own formal and informal education. If you possess a Graduate Gemologist Diploma or even a Graduate Diamond, or Colored Stones or Pearls Diploma…you now have academic credentials in the field of gemology…ergo , you are now a GEMOLOGIST! Even if you just read books on and have a passion for gemology…you qualify. Gemology is a branch of mineralogy, which is a branch of geology…one of the geosciences. Hope this helped.

  2. Pinctada Imbricata,

    Thank you very much for your comment.


    • Pinctada imbricata says:

      My pleasure Jim…I have always had a great interest in rocks,minerals,gemstones and fossils. I also have a passion for shell collecting, I specialize in two families, conidae and cyprieadae. My primary passion studying and collecting petrified wood of the genus araucariaceae and fossilized palms from the genus palmoxylon. I enjoy studying cultured and natural pearls and the bi-valves and gastropods that produce them. I love “south sea pearls” from the oyster Pinctada maxima. The golden yellow pearls are spectacular, attaining sizes of up to 20 millimeters +…Good stuff Jim, “goood” stuff…

  3. Thanks again,

    That’s some interest that you have.


  4. Pinctada imbricata says:

    I love all gemstones…my favorite of course are pearls. Pearls have been called the queen of gemstones and provide a warm, soft, natural appeal, due to the organic origin of their development. Unlike all other “true” gems, which are mined and also truly exquisite…the pearl provides a lustrous, somewhat fragile gem from the depths of the ocean blue, that was formed in the body of a living organism. Recently, Liz Taylor’s spectacular piece of jewelry.. the “La Peregrina Pearl” was auctioned off, for 11 mill and change, at Christie’s in New York. Some say that the pearl was collected by a black slave off the coast of Panama and it was collected from a specimen of Pinctada mazatlanica…still other’s say that it was not a La Paz Pearl oyster that produced this majestic pearl…but rather it came from Pinctada imbricata…the world may never know. Gemstones…the flowers of the mineral kingdom.

  5. Good eye,

    All of Liz Taylor’s jewelry was magnificent. I’m glad they were sold so we could all get a look at them.


  6. Pinctada imbricata says:

    I just bought my wife a glorious sparkling “ORANGE” Padparadscha, from Sri Lanka. it is a magnificent pendant in a brilliant cut, surrounded by glittering diamonds. I purchased this magnificent gemstone in San Juan Capistrano. True dat!

  7. Pinctada imbricata says:

    The University of Texas offers graduate level courses in gemology and mineralogy. Columbia University does as well The University of south Florida offers a certificate in Gemology as does the GIA in Carlsbad and Zoo York (LOL!). Rancho Santiago Community College actually offers a Certificate and an A.S. in Gemology. I would believe that this is a terminal degree program, I am uncertain what you would matriculate into from this degree program. The Gemological Institute of America is the best of these…it is the Harvard of gem Schools…nuff said

  8. Pinctada imbricata says:

    errata…my bad…it is Santiago Canyon College that offers an associate of science degree in gemology.

  9. Pinctada Imbricata says:

    Last weekend I was in Harry Winston, in Orange County. I had the tremendous pleasure of viewing and holding a spectacular strand of South sea Pearls! This exquisitely matched strand was golden yellow and silver, with a magnificent circular diamond clasp. These magnificent pearls went for a staggering 250,000 dollars…and worth every penny! They were almost 20 millimeters each and the nacre quality and luster was jaw-dropping. Clearly, the most magnificent strand of pearls I have ever seen, whether South Sea, Tahitian or Akoya…Harry Winston…nuff said

  10. Thanks for sharing that experience. That size and color are rarely seen in most jewelry stores.


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