What is a Gemmologist and what do they do?

Article written by Angela Norbury FGAA 18/8/21


What is a Gemmologist and what do they do?

Gemmology is the science of those minerals, and other rare materials, beautiful and durable enough for use as personal adornment and the embellishment of our personal possessions. In brief, the scientific study of gemstones. It is a study becoming increasingly necessary for those in the Jewellery trade to identify gemstones.

The qualified Gemmologist, presented with a valuable faceted stone, is restricted to non- destructive tests and measurements. Special instruments and techniques have been developed to gather sufficient data to analyse, describe, assess quality and characteristics to identify such a gemstone. With knowledge and understanding of the subject, the trained Gemmologist will inspire and retain the confidence of their customers. Gemmology, from a purely commerical standpoint, is of the upmost importance to the Jeweller and gem dealer today.

At it's heart, Gemmology is about identifying gemstones. Gemmologists identify a gemstone by it's specific characteristics and properties, some gemstones are impossible to distinguish by their appearance but their underlying physical properties differ considerably.

Gemstone hardness is measured by something called the Moh's scale of hardness. The "scratch hardness" of a mineral compared with a series of minerals of known hardness ie. Quartz (Amethyst), Corundum (Ruby and Sapphire) and Diamond.

Some examples of gemstones and their hardness are Diamond is 10 on the scale and the hardest wearing gemstone that is why it is so practical and a good choice as an engagement ring for everyday wear. The next option would be Ruby and Sapphire at 9 hardness is reasonably durable. Emerald is 7.5 - 8.00 a more brittle gemstone and is susceptible to scratching so therefore best used as dress Jewellery. Gemstones such as Australia's National Gemstone, Opal has a hardness of 5.5 - 6.5 which displays the most magnificent play of colour in precious opal. Another one of Australia's treasures is the Australian South Sea Pearl hardness is 2.5 - 4.5 and as an organic gem (formed from a biological process) is porous so therefore will be affected by things like hairspray and perfume and scratching easily.

Birthday Gemstones by Month

January - Garnet

February - Amethyst

March - Aquamarine

April - Diamond

May - Emerald

June - Pearl

July - Ruby

August - Peridot

September - Sapphire

October - Opal / Tourmaline

November - Citrine / Topaz

December - Tanzanite / Turquoise

Exploring the world of gemstones is not only fascinating but can be addictive. If you have any questions or have your heart set on acquiring a particular gemstone please come in for a chat. With our huge network of gemstone dealers, we can source any gemstone and we can also show you our in-house array of gemstones.

Having a qualified Gemmologist on site will give you the confidence that you are in good hands and the peace of mind that you know you are going to get professional advice.


Article written by Angela Norbury FGAA 18/8/21