Career & Education

Job Spotlight: GEMSTONE APPRAISER

Sunday, February 25, 2018

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It requires an expert to identify gemstones, since different gem varieties can look quite similar. It is not always easy to tell a sapphire from a tanzanite, or an aquamarine from a blue topaz, for example. And it takes even more skill to separate natural from synthetic gems, and treated stones from untreated.

For these reasons and more, investors, jewelers, and insurance agencies all depend upon the gemstone appraiser to tell them just how much their prized jewel is worth.

A good appraiser is one who combines the efforts of retail jewelers to stay on top of the latest market trends and prices in jewelry and gemstones, with those of the qualified gemologist who constantly studies the latest developments in the field of gemology. A good appraiser will constantly be in a study mode to learn all they can about the latest in gemological news and events, while watching the market trends and prices on a wide range of jewelry and gemstones.

Training and Education

Using STEM knowledge learned in both maths and geology classes, gemstone appraisers must begin by taking jewelry appraisal courses and acquire professional certification. The International Society of Appraisers, National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, or American Society of Appraisers are some examples in the US. The International Society of Appraisers provides certification after students successfully complete two training courses and pass exams on the information learned. But learning to do this job well does not stop there.

A successful gemstone appraiser must also gain knowledge about the gems themselves, learning how to grade gems and identifying them as synthetic or naturally grown. The Gemological Institute of America grants certification as a gemologist and gives a gemstone appraiser important knowledge on which to build a successful career. An appraiser interested in an independent jewelry appraisal career can attain the Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser designation from The American Gem Society. This designation indicates that the gemstone appraiser has the knowledge required to do an accurate appraisal and qualifies that appraiser as an American Gem Society member.

On-the-job training

Applying all of the information learned, however, must be done on the job. In that regard, an internship or apprenticeship with a certified gemstone appraiser is an invaluable step in the process. Learning from an expert about the gems, jewelry settings, and how the jewelry is made lays a solid foundation for a future gemstone appraiser who is expected to give a detailed, written appraisal of the value of the gem or jewelry piece.

Note too that study continues even beyond on-the-job training as a gemstone appraiser must read about the newest trends and developments in the field of gemology, and must keep abreast of both the pricing and popularity of the gems and jewelry on the market.

Because a qualified jewelry appraisal is often the basis for the insurance purchased to insure the item against theft or loss, gemstone appraisers must also study the current legal requirements of the insurance companies and the laws which regulate the insurance of gems and jewelry.

The median salary in the US is $60,000 per year.

Other skills and information

An independent gemstone appraiser cannot buy or sell jewelry as he is prohibited by law from doing anything that may influence an independent jewelry appraisal. Honesty and truthfulness are critical traits for the gemstone appraiser and a reputation for accurate and precise information is key to success in telling clients just how much their jewelry is worth.

— stemjobs.com

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