If you enjoyed your science classes or you thrive on doing carefully detailed work, a position as a gemologist or laboratory grader might be for you. Most graders work in gemological laboratories performing quality analyses on diamonds and colored gemstones. Large retailers, manufacturers and importers also employ gemologists and graders as quality control specialists to perform similar work with finished jewelry. Primarily, a grader’s job is to provide the certificates and reports that assure customers that the diamonds and gemstones they are buying are of a stated quality, or that a piece of jewelry meets a predetermined set of quality standards.
Is this a career for me?
Doing lab work requires the ability to concentrate closely for long periods of time, and to be consistent in the quality of the work you do. Graders are self-motivated and disciplined. They are good at prioritizing and at time management, and are not easily distracted or interrupted. They must work well with their supervisors and other graders. Some will take on the task of monitoring or training new employees.
Most gemologists and graders became interested in science, especially rocks and minerals, at an early age; in fact, many still continue to add to the rock collections they started in their youth. Typically, graders also enjoy working with microscopes and other grading instruments, including sophisticated computerized tools. Graders may also make use of technical drawings to complete reports.
Some gemologists and lab graders become researchers and use their knowledge and
skills to learn more about gems and about how science and technology impact both
gemstones and the jewelry industry.
What do I do as a gemologist/ lab grader?
Most graders report that their analytical and decision-making skills are put
to intensive use in the lab, as they work with their instruments and the lab’s
guidelines to write their reports. Grading involves evaluating a gem’s overall
condition and describing it accurately. Identification requires the grader to
perform a series of tests on a gem so that its identity – as a ruby or a garnet,
for example – can be confirmed. Gemologists working as quality control
specialists decide whether a given piece of jewelry is properly made.
In lab work, challenges and satisfactions often go together. Developing and
maintaining a high level of expertise and knowledge is critical for most lab
people, yet the reward for those efforts is professional status and respect
among peers. And while many people find sitting at a desk for any length of
time a challenge, graders enjoy the opportunity to look at gemstones and
jewelry through their microscopes. In fact, as their careers develop, the real
challenge is deciding whether to trade the microscope for management
opportunities and career advancement.
Is there a scope for growth in the jewelry industry as a Gemologist?
Positions as laboratory graders, gemologists and quality control specialists
can often lead to supervisory or management positions in larger labs, or to
positions involving training, customer service management or even research
(for graders with advanced knowledge in scientific fields). Some graders
and gemologists go on to work for diamond or colored gem wholesalers,
become buyers or inventory managers for manufacturers or larger retailers,
or get the additional training they need to become appraisers.
PATHS TO SUCCESS*
- High school or college-level science is helpful
- Computer skills
- Some gemology training
- A gemology diploma is usually
required for graders
- Jewelry manufacturing knowledge for
those working as quality control specialists
- Entry Level – Rs.1,80,000/- to Rs.3,00,000/-
- Qualified/Experienced - Rs.4,80,000/- to Rs.6,00,000/-
- Career Potential - Rs.9,00,000/- to Rs.12,00,000/-+
* Salaries can vary greatly based on the individual, job description, employer and geographic area.