Gemstones have intrigued us throughout history and are reputed as symbols of wealth, power, healing, and love. They are desired for their beauty, rarity, value, durability, tradition and portability.
Gemmology is the scientific study of gemstones. It is a branch of mineralogy that is concerned with the study of gem materials, including identification and testing methods, cutting and polishing synthetically manufactured gems, precious metals and alloys, their sources and origins and grading and appraising. Those interested in possessing gems for their value should have an idea of Gemmology to distinguish one gem from another
The first step in learning about gems is its categorization. The next step is to learn the terminology of gemstones and then their physical and optical properties, and how those properties are used to identify gems. After getting the background one can proceed into gem identification. Studies relating to this field are gem cutting, sorting, grading, valuation and identification of gemstones, fashion, computer pattern designing, jewellery making, consultancy regarding stones, selling etc.
While Gemmologists study the quality, characteristics and value of gem stones, Jewelers typically do the handiwork required to produce a piece of Jewellery. Gemmologists identifies the gems and advises the jeweller about the compatibility of gems to particular metals. In Jewellery, identification is one of the key element of business. Some rubies and garnets sometimes look alike, but their values are considerably different, only a Gemmologists can easily identify the difference and know its physical characteristic and value.
In India the Gems & Jewellery scenario is undergoing a positive change with diamonds and stones like Tanzanite, Tourmalines, Peridots dominating the consumer preference. At the same time traditionally preferred Gems like Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds have maintained a consistent position.From trade point of view Gems & Jewellery has been one of the biggest foreign exchange earner for India. It is therefore, highly necessary that people associated with the trade, receive training and carry out the operations scientifically and professionally so as to achieve greater success.
Candidates who have qualified 10+2 or equivalent/ Higher Secondary/ Senior Secondary or equivalent examination from a Recognized Educational Institution can apply for Gemmology degree/ diploma/ certificate courses. The minimum age required is 18 years. There is no maximum age limit. The qualifications for research in the field are degrees in geology, chemistry or physics.
Art colleges offer Bachelors/ Masters degree of Fine Arts (BFA /MFA) in Jewelery design. The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT, Delhi) offers a 3-year intensive diploma programme in accessory design that includes Jewellery Designing. Indian Institute of Gemmology (IIG New Delhi) is offering various courses of Gemmology. There is a three-and-a-half month course in gemmology (resident programme) as well as a one-year home study programme. The Indian diamond institute and the Indian Gemological Institute conduct advanced fellowship programmes of 1year duration for science and engineering graduates. some of the other courses are Post Graduate Diploma in Diamond Technology, Diploma in Diamond Processing, Diploma in Diamond Trade management, Certificate course in International system of Diamond Grading, Certificate course in Grading, Cutting, Polishing, Bruiting etc, Certificate course in Planning& Marketing, Certificate course in Hard Shape Grooving, Diploma in Gemology, Certificate course in Coloured Gemstone Cutting & Polishing, Courses in Jewellery Design & Machine Cast Jewellery. For P.G course eligibility is Graduation and for other courses Higher Secondary or equivalent.
Gemmologists need excellent powers of observation, attention to detail, precision, the ability to concentrate, ability to work on one's own, excellent hand -eye co-ordination, an objective approach and a great sense of responsibility. In addition to the above qualities, they require artistic and creative skills, aesthetic sense and colour sensitivity. They should also acquire an insight into customs and tradition as well as the latest trends as these do influence art forms and design. Effective communication skills facilitate an understanding with the clients as well as the crafts persons.
The Indian gem and jewellery industry has entered the new millennium with great confidence. Employment opportunities for Gemmologists are increasing now a days, because jewellery sales are on the rise. A gemmologist / jewelery designer can begin by working with jewellery houses or work as a freelancer. There are lot of job opportunities mainly in the private sector export houses as well. Working full-time with firms or established designers requires the designer to conform to their standards and client profiles. However, if one is talented and designs one's own line of products, the chances of carving an individual niche are much higher provided they could satisfy market needs and continue to be creative at the same time.
There are many areas of specialisation in this field- gem grinders, gem polishers, gem assorters, engravers, jewellery setters, researchers and scientists.Related occupations could be of gem-cutters, hand engravers and watchmakers and repairers. There are also opportunities for setting up retail and trading units. Gemmologists can be engaged in making small gem sculptures, giving shapes to the Gemstones, exporting jewelry etc.
Indian gem cutters and craftsmen are held in high regard the world over. Further, the increasing numbers of affluent individuals, working women, double-income households and fashion-conscious men are expected to keep gems and jewellery sales strong.
Gemmology and Jewellery Design is a profession with great scope. You would get paid extremely well once your designs and ideas are appreciated. However, this may have you marketing yourself for a while. The figures in the beginning may range from Rs. 8,000 to Rs.10, 000.