Gemology – the Science of Gems and their Use

Gemology (from Lat . Gemma – gem, gemstone , and Greek – Logos ? word and mind) – the science of gems and their use. It is traditionally considered as a part of mineralogy, as most of the stones used in jewelry are natural minerals.

However, this definition is too limited: gemology deals with the composition, properties, origins, processing methods and identification of gemstones, but its subject is much broader. Gemologist’s interest (unlike mineralogist’s) is not limited to the raw natural material. Gemology studies faceted stones, their synthetic analogues, and organic materials such as amber, jet, pearl, coral, which do not fit the classic definition of a mineral. Gemology constantly faces new challenges, solving which requires not only the knowledge of mineralogy. For example, modern optics calculations for the faceted stones are based on three-dimensional computer modeling and take into account the study of the psychophysiology of human eyesight.

Gemologists services in the market include traditional materials diagnostics and specification of their application properties. Diagnostics as of today is not only distinguishing natural stones from glass and from each other, but also recognition of the origin (natural or synthetic), signs of upgrading, and sometimes the field.

Determining the cost characteristics is conducted as per peer review systems developed by gemologists, in the industry or market in order to be able to compare the stones and to determine their value. Thanks to the efforts of the worldwide gemological training centers manufacturers and traders have the opportunity to train their staff, enhance qualifications of the market participants, conduct examination in gemological laboratories, and increase consumer confidence. Thus, the scope of application for gemology is expanding.

By the beginning of the XXI century, gemology established as a field of knowledge about the gemstones and their use. Being 100 years ago part of mineralogy, today this science also engages other areas: geology, physics, art history, economics, psychology, law.

Since the market features constantly growing offer and assortment, the salesmen and the customers need more information about the product and its consumer properties every day. Boosting the demand for the gems and jewelry requires the knowledge about the stones to be publicly available to the people at large. Gemology offers the market (both to sellers and buyers) the wealth of information about the stones and their consumer properties in the form of training courses, specialized literature, as well as the services of gemological laboratories. At the stage of the of the buyer and seller interaction gemologists pursue a policy of consumer protection and promotion of fair competition. Even if some vendors are interested in selling stones with overvalued consumer characteristics or concealing the fact of upgrading, gemologists are promoting activities aimed at winning customers’ trust and strengthening the authority of the business for the sake of consistency and success.