Inside Gemologist Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Jewelry Maker: "The greatest part of my career is the ability to dictate my own hours and have total creative control of my work. I also get to share the experience of creating pieces for friends and contacts I meet through networking. This is a fantastic career if you have the patience and are willing to understand that it is not instant income. The downfall is that this is not a guaranteed income and the sales depend on the economy, the marketing effort I put into my site and designs, and luck." (2011)

Authorized Member/Co-Owner Of Small Business: "The best part of my job, by far, is the actual creating of the jewelry. I feel that I am able to be more creative as our inventory of materials has grown. The larger, better-lit studio space has helped tremendously also. If you have to wait, like we did, to acquire a better work space, be patient... It's well worth it in the long run. Record keeping is probably the least "fun" part of the job, but absolutely essential. Not only is it necessary in order to pay quarterly sales tax returns and to file your annual corporate tax (we're a limited liability corporation or LLC), but it's also the only way that you are going to know what your profit margins are and whether you're actually making money!" (2010)

Gemologist And Jewelry Inspector: "The best part of being a gemologist is all the beautiful gemstones we get to see and touch every day. The most difficult part is the high level of accuracy we have to maintain in our work. A misrepresentation can be very costly and our reputations could be hurt if we graded a gemstone incorrectly or mis-identified something. The best part of being a jewelry inspector (at a reputable company) is the beautiful finished jewelry we get to inspect before it goes to the customer. The most difficult part about being a jewelry inspector is working with extremely picky customers." (2010)

Career Background


  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Tips

"Network With Other Artists And Retailers...
1. Take additional design courses if you are interested in art. It will teach you color concepts, structure, and materials. Jewelry classes are easy to find at local colleges and community centers and an array of instructions are available in books and online. 2. Be patient. This is a learning process in regards to your abilities and your marketing/sales strategies. 3. Network with local retailers, partner with other artists' websites and get involved in your local artist circles. The more visible your work is, the greater chance you have at sustaining your income and furthering your career." (Jewelry Maker; 2011)

"Follow Jewelry Trends...
Before setting up your own business, be sure to check out the need for your product in your area. In the jewelry business, it is also important for us to keep up with current trends. Also, start small... It takes patience, but the growing part can be fun! Concerning our particular business (jewelry), it is helpful to have a background or schooling that is relevant. In my daughter's case, she is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design and, as such, has great color and design sense and can also do all our advertising. I, on the other hand, have learned mostly from her and work mainly on our vintage Lucite designs and leave the more intricate work for her. Lastly, having your own business requires a lot of self-discipline. It's easy to take up a lot of time with doctors' appointments, shopping, etc. I found that, if I had to cut into my work day for things like that, the best thing was to keep a record and make up for it another day. Also, keep detailed records of all your expenses, everything you make and sell... In other words organize, organize, organize! If you do, you'll have more time to do the things you <I>really</I> enjoy!" (Authorized Member/Co-Owner Of Small Business; 2010)

If you want to be a gemologist, take as many courses from the GIA, the Gemological Institute of America, as you can. The GIA is the only institute where you can earn the "Graduate Gemologist" title. You have to have a passion for gemstones and the earth sciences to get into this field. If you want to be a jewelry inspector, gemstone courses help a lot, as do metalsmithing or jewelry arts classes, even if offered by local community colleges. Working in a jewelry store helps a lot too." (Gemologist And Jewelry Inspector; 2010)