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What Skills Are Needed for a Gemologist?

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A Crystalline Quartz and Iron Gem Rock Sample. image by daseaford from

A gemologist is a person who identifies and examines characteristics and quality of gemstones. The gemologist also identifies the natural gemstones from the artificial by using a variety of instruments and tools. You can commonly find gemologists in gemological laboratories, as they work as quality controllers for major manufacturers and retailers of gemstones. Gemologists also determine the quality and value of imported gemstones, such as diamonds and rubies. A gemologist should possess certain skills to be most effective at his job.

Hand-Eye Coordination

A gemologist will often be required to spend much time examining gemstones through a microscope. This means that the gemologist’s hands and eyes must work in coordination with each other, so the gemologist can get the best possible view of the gemstone. A gemologist will often need to adjust the gemstone under the microscope, so the eyes can examine the gemstone from different angles. Using grading tools and simply handling the gems on their own require dexterity and hand-eye coordination as well.

Attention to Detail

Customers typically seek out a gemologist to identify a gem and find characteristics that can help determine its value and worth. A gemologist must have a good eye for detail, as her jobs include finding flaws in gemstones and grading the color shades to determine the gem’s value. For instance, diamonds are categorized based on a colorless or near-colorless basis. The gemologist must spend the required time to analyze any inclusions or blemishes that are present, along with making valuable decisions about cutting the gemstones.


Mathematics is another skill that gemologists use on a frequent basis in the job. Since the gemologist works closely with a gemstone to determine its value, cut and worth, math skills are needed when calculating the gemstone’s worth or providing an approximate appraisal. This may not be relevant for gemologists working in larger laboratories, but it should be practiced and honed in smaller environments where the gemologist interacts directly with the customer or client.


A gemologist must be skilled at presenting the findings of any gemstone examination either to coworkers if working in a laboratory or directly to customers, if working as a business owner. The gemologist must explain the findings of the gemstone effectively and clearly, so the customer or co-worker understands the information given. Customer service skills also are necessary if the gemologist works closely with customers and their personal gemstones or valuable diamonds.


Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.