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Careers in the diamond grading industry range from the somewhat trained department store jewelry counter worker to the highly trained and coveted position of graduate gemologist (G.G.). Depending on training, hourly wages vary from position to position. The diamond sector of the jewelry market is the most affluent in terms of sales as well as the most high profile.
Whether you are looking at a career in jewelry sales, appraisal, or design, knowing the 4Cs of the diamond industry is a must. The 4Cs, or cut, clarity, color, and carat weight, determine not only the value of a diamond but also its quality. Knowing how to judge the 4Cs will help a diamond grader to determine which diamonds meet their quality standards and how to pick stones that will turn a profit. The clearer and most craftily cut a diamond, the more it is worth.
There are short-term training programs such as the seven-week graduate diamond program taught by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) that teach how to identify the 4Cs and how craftsmanship works to enhance a stone. This training is useful in any sector of the jewelry industry. There are also longer certification programs and traditional bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in gemology.
Diamond Grading Job Categories
The range of diamond grading careers is as varied as the prism of colors emitted by one of these precious stones. There are sales jobs such as retail store associate, retailer, and auction house operator. There is also the business side of the industry, encompassing such professions as jewelry store owner and diamond/jewelry buyers. Then there are the specialized positions of appraiser and lab researcher. All of these careers demand an eye for detail and dedication to quality.
Tools of the Trade
The profession of diamond grading requires the use of numerous tools, some specialized and some common. Due to the intricate nature of diamonds, lamps that emit pure white light and ultraviolet light are used to determine different aspects of a diamond’s quality. The more common tools of the trade include easy to find standard white paper, tweezers, material, and cleaning liquid. Specialized industry tools include a loupe, gauge, microscope, color matterstones, and a balance.
As with any field, the more training you have the better the wages. Those with little to no training in diamond grading, for instance, those mainly dealing in retail sales, make an hourly wage and in some cases earn a small commission from their sales. Those with more training, such as gemologists and jewelry specialists, make more along the lines of the mid-teens to twenties as an hourly wage. Jewelry store owners and diamond buyers turn the most profit. And of course keep in mind that with any job there are adjustments to salary averages depending on location.