Gemology is the science, art and profession of identifying and evaluating gemstones. It is considered as a branch of mineralogy in Geosciences. Gemologists are taught to classify natural gemstones and check for damage to these stones. The splendor, durability and material value of gemstones have always surprised people and have remained a cause of interest for centuries.
A gemstone or gem (also called a precious or semi-precious stone) is a piece of attractive mineral, which—when cut and polished—is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However certain rocks, (such as lapis-lazuli) and organic materials (such as amber or jet) are not minerals, but are still used for jewelry, and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their lustre or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone.
Gemstones are basically categorized based on of their crystal structure, specific gravity, refractive index, and other optical properties, such as pleochroism. The physical property of "hardness" is defined by the non-linear Moh's scale of mineral hardness. Gemologists study these factors while valuing or appraising cut and polished gemstones. Gemological microscopic study of the internal structure is used to determine whether a gem is synthetic or natural by revealing natural fluid inclusions, and included partially melted exogenous crystals to demonstrate evidence of heat treatment to enhance colour.
The spectroscopic analysis of cut gemstones also allows a gemologist to understand the atomic structure and identify its origin as it is a major factor in valuing a gemstone. For example, a ruby from Burma will have definite internal and optical activity variance as compared to a Thai ruby. When the gemstones are in a rough state, the gemologist studies the external structure; the host rock and mineral association; and natural and polished colour. Initially, the stone is identified by its colour, refractive index, optical character, specific gravity, and examination of internal characteristics under magnification
Since time immemorial gems have remained "neighbor's envy and owner's pride". The ornaments have been exotic, unequalled and invaluable articles of personal glory. They are considered symbols of wealth, talismans, adornments of gods, kings and the rich. They have also been revered for their magical powers as well. There are very few substances which pack so much value in such little sizes. And, with changing fashion and taste, men and women today, are steadily moving away from conventional styles of adornment and ornamentation and gradually adopting modern patterns better suited to their busy life styles. According to estimates, 60 percent by value, 82 percent by volume and 95 percent of the cut and polished diamonds get processed in India. Also considering the fact that India is the largest consumer of gold in the world and has excellent infrastructure for diamond cutting, Gemology can prove to be a very lucrative and satisfying career.
To be eligible for admission into a Gemology course, you must have completed 10+2 (any stream) or graduation. The duration of the courses vary but they are of short terms. A good command over English is a must if you want to progress in this field because not only it gives an edge during communication with customers but also, best of the books on the subject are in English.
Gemology course mainly consists of gem's identification and colouring, metal concepts drawing techniques, metallurgical processes, elements of fashion, design methodology, computer aided designing, ornament designing, ornament making and traditional and modern processes with specialization in jewellery designing. Gemologists identify, sort and grade gemstones in order to advise jewellers/ jewellery designs regarding various properties of gems and the suitability of particular gemstones in different metals and settings. Thus, the functions of a Gemologist include identification, measurement of weights, establishment of size and all other such aspects of various precious stones. You can specialize as a gem grinder, gem polisher, gem assorter, engraver, jewellery setter, researcher and scientist. You can also be involved in teaching and training people with relevant qualification and adequate experience.
For becoming a successful Gemologist you should have a sense of design and appreciation of quality. Excellent powers of observation, attention to detail, precision, ability to concentrate, initiative, an objective approach and a tremendous sense of responsibility are some of the other qualities, which will make your progress in this area, fast and smooth. Good hand-eye coordination, patience and concentration are required in great measures because the work is precise and delicate in nature. Students are taught on the various aspects of the stones that include:
It is a fact that Indian gem cutters and craftsmen are respected and held in high regard all over the world. Also, Government's liberalization policy has opened up a whole new world of opportunities in India and abroad. Within India, Jaipur (Rajasthan) is among the world's largest gem cutting centers. Other emerging centers include Delhi, Mumbai, Surat and Ahmedabad. Most of the jewellery export houses and other centers located in these cities offer good positions to those with training in the latest trends and developments in this field. With the entry of branded gems and jewellery as well as the increased interest in newer designs and westernized styles, job opportunities have increased manifolds. If you can satisfy market needs and continue to create new things, you can carve a niche for yourself as a self- employed entrepreneur.
Growing demand for precious stone jewelry has created the need for more gemologists. Anybody who has a passion for jewelry and stones and has an eye for detail can become a successful gemologist. In recent times the entry of branded jewelry has infused new impetus in the profession. And when it comes to gems and jewelry exports, India accounts for 70% (approx.) exports worldwide. There is also a demand for traditional gold jewelry in the international market. The Indian Gem & Jewelry industry is poised to enter the new millennium with great confidence. Indian gem cutters and craftsmen are held in high regard the world over. The opening up of the market will help India to acquire a sizeable share of the world market.
Job openings have shown an increase with entry of branded jewelry and increased interest in newer and westernized styles. Self-employed jewelry designers can carve a niche for themselves provided they could satisfy market needs and continue to be creative at the same time. Within manufacturing, increasing automation will take some time to adversely affect employment of low-skilled occupations, such as assembler and polisher when replacement benefits and costs outweigh the productivity of manpower. Automation will have a lesser impact on more creative, highly skilled positions, such as mould and model maker.
The demand for jewelry is largely affected by the amount of disposable income people have. Therefore, the increasing number of affluent individuals, workingwomen, double-income households and fashion conscious men are expected to keep jewelry sales strong.
Related occupations could be of gem-cutters, hand engravers, and watchmakers and repairers
It is a fact that Indian gem cutters and craftsmen are respected and held in high regard all over the world. Also, Government's liberalization policy has opened up a whole new world of opportunities in India and abroad. Within India, Jaipur (Rajasthan) is among the world's largest gem-cutting centers. Other emerging centers located in these cities offer good positions to those with training in the latest trends and developments in this field. With the entry of branded gems and jewellery as well as the increased interest in newer designs and westernized styles, job opportunities have increased manifolds. If you can satisfy market needs and continue to create new things, you can carve a miche for yourself as a self-employed entrepreneur.
Though automation has set in this field also, keeping pace with the changing times, it will take time before it adversely affects the employment of lower level skilled workers. But automation will hardly have much impact on the creative and highly skilled positions. Employment is not at all a problem for skilled workers. The salaries vary depending on the type of the job you are doing. Creative jobs generally fetch you a starting salary of Rs.15,000 per month. People involved in this business can also be retailers, wholesalers of gems and jewellery shop, where income levels vary from one extreme to another.
Owing to the availability of cheap labour, it is estimated that nine out of every ten diamonds are cut in India. Further, employment opportunities should be excellent as jewellery sales are increasing. Due to the discovery and pilferage of imitations of diamonds and synthetic gems, the field is still evolving. The International Gemological Institute (IGI), the largest independent gem certification and appraisal institute with gemological laboratories in Antwerp (Belgium), New York (US) and Bangkok (Thailand), has set up shop in Mumbai in recognition of India's immense potential in this field. Many other gemological institutes have been eyeing India in the recent past.