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Gemmologist

Gemmologists apply their knowledge of natural gemstones, synthetics, and imitations to identify and grade them.

Also Known As

Appraiser

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Jewellers and Related Workers (7344.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Jewellers, Watch Repairers and Related Occupations (H514) 
  • 2011 NOC: Jewellers, jewellery and watch repairers and related occupations (6344) 
  • 2016 NOC: Jewellers, jewellery and watch repairers and related occupations (6344) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Jewellers and Related Workers
2006 NOC : 7344.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to examine, cut, shape and polish diamonds and precious and synthetic gems using optical instruments, lathes, laps and cutting disks

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing information to differentiate between stones, to appraise gemstones and diamonds, and to identify rare specimens

METHODICAL

Interest in cutting, sawing and filing articles in preparation for further processing

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Duties vary from one position to another but, in general, gemmologists:

  • Identify different gemstones, such as diamond, emerald, jade, ruby, and topaz, and their synthetic counterparts
  • Differentiate between natural gems and stones that have been treated to enhance their colour or clarity, or to stabilize them
  • Grade (assess the quality of) gemstones and pearls

To identify gems, gemmologists may:

  • Examine surface and internal characteristics using a microscope or loupe (small magnifying glass)
  • Use equipment such as a polariscope, dichroscope, or polarizing filter to detect optical characteristics
  • Measure refractive indices and, in some cases, interpret optical characters and optic signs
  • Analyze absorption and fluorescent spectra
  • Measure specific gravity (for example, by using hydrostatic or heavy liquid immersion techniques, or by using calibrated measuring tools and calculating the weight of mounted stones)
  • Use other testing procedures to identify synthetic and treated gems
  • Use electronic testing tools and advanced instrumentation, particularly for spectroscopy

Depending on where they work, gemmologists may have a variety of additional responsibilities. For related information, see the Jeweller occupational profile.

Working Conditions
Updated Apr 11, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Gemmologists may work full time, part time, or on a contract or freelance basis. Travel often is required for those involved in selling wholesale gems or jewellery to retailers.

Traits & Skills
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Gemmologists need:

  • An interest in geology, physics, and chemistry
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Good colour vision
  • Manual dexterity
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • The ability to work alone or as a team
  • The ability to meet deadlines

Gemmologists should enjoy using tools and instruments to perform precision tasks. They should enjoy analyzing information to appraise gemstones. They should like having clear guidelines and organized methods for their work.

Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 11, 2022
  • Minimum Education High school diploma

Training in gemmology generally involves a combination of formal instruction and experience. Employers prefer to hire gemmologists who have at least Grade 12 education and a diploma or other accreditation in gemmology. Computer skills and courses in geology, chemistry, and physics are definite assets.

Prospective students are advised to discuss their career plans with practising gemmologists before choosing a training route. Training programs are offered in a variety of formats (full-time classroom instruction, seminars, and distance education) by sources such as:

For current information about programs, admission requirements, and mature student admission policies, please check post-secondary calendars or websites.

Ongoing professional development is required for gemmologists to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 11, 2022
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Most gemmologists are self-employed. They may work for:

  • Retail jewellers
  • Appraisal laboratories
  • Wholesalers of diamonds and coloured gems
  • Jewellery manufacturers
  • Auction houses, pawnbrokers, and other buyers and sellers of estate jewellery

Becoming an independent gem dealer requires a large financial investment. With experience and additional training, gemmologists may become appraisers who apply their knowledge of the market value of gemstones to estimate their worth.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 6344: Jewellers, jewellery and watch repairers and related occupations occupational group, 75.4% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 6344: Jewellers, jewellery and watch repairers and related occupations occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Gemmologists’ earnings vary depending on the scope of their responsibilities, location, the method of payment, and the gemmologist’s qualifications.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Personal and Food Services
  • Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Canadian Gemmological Association (CGA) website: canadiangemmological.com

Canadian Institute of Gemmology (CIG) website: www.cigem.ca

Canadian Jewellers Association (CJA) website: canadianjewellers.com

Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) website: gem-a.com

Gemological Institute of America (GIA) website: www.gia.edu

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2022. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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