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What to expect from a career in Gemology

The jewellery industry is full of opportunities for gemologists – people who study, identify and classify gems. Gemology programs at Ontario colleges provide students with the scientific knowledge they’ll need to work in various roles in this interesting and specialized industry.

If you want to learn about synthetic and natural gems and start a career in the field of gemology, here’s what you need to know.

Gemology Courses

Students in gemology programs at Ontario colleges will take theory and lab courses to give them comprehensive knowledge of gems and their role in the  jewellery industry . During lab times, students will learn how to identify gemstones using spectroscopes, microscopes and other examining devices.

Theory courses will teach students basic chemistry and physics, as they relate to gems. Jewellery appraisal and gemstone grading courses will cover subjects like market values, gemstone quality and diamond identification. Additional courses may include jewellery fabrication,  metalsmithing , design and casting, depending on the program.

Gemology programs prepare students for accreditation exams to become professional gemologists both nationally and internationally. They also equip students with the foundational knowledge to further their education in other specialty areas, such as jewellery appraisal.

General Gemology Program Requirements

Ontario college gemology programs require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, including grade 12 English. Good vision and the ability to identify colours are also required.

Gemology Jobs and Salaries

Graduates of gemology programs are suited for many jobs in the jewellery industry, including positions in:

  • Wholesale and imports
  • Sorting and grading
  • Sales and retail
  • Appraisals*

*Note: Some of these jobs may require graduates to gain relevant experience or take extra courses in the area of specialty before qualifying.

It is difficult to state an average salary for gemologists because they can vary greatly depending on your position. Salaries could start as low as $25,000, or be as high as $45,000 or more for those who gain the necessary experience or education to become independent appraisers and other specialists. Jewellery salespeople could also be on the higher end of the pay scale, since these positions are often commission-based.

Ontario Colleges Offering Gemology Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of gemology programs at Ontario colleges.

More Information

  • Canadian Gemmological Association
  • Canadian Jewellers Association

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Register Online Cancellations & Refunds Frequently Asked Questions

Fundamentals Of Gemology Certificate

Hillary Spector, GG (graduate gemologist, Gemological Institute of America

Whether you love jewelry or are interested in a career in the industry, this 18-hour program presents a solid foundation in pearls, diamonds, gems, and precious metals. Study how gems are formed, mined, identified, graded, and priced. Understand the global, political, and economic perspectives of the industry. Using laboratory equipment, learn gem identifying techniques such as how to tell the difference between a blue aquamarine, a blue topaz, and a blue sapphire. Hear about job opportunities and effective paths to a career in gemology. Certificate issued with a 70 percent passing grade on written and laboratory assessments. 6 SESSIONS

Mon-Thurs, Jul 9-12
Mon, Tues, Wed, 10 am-1 pm
Thurs, 10 am-2 pm (bagged lunch suggested)
Freehold Campus
Fee and Code: $199, XPERS 270

Course Outline:


  • History
  • Formation
  • Shapes
  • Properties
  • 4 Cs: grading criteria and value
  • Analyzing grading reports “GIA Certificates”
  • Industry issues

Colored Gems

  • Classifying gems
  • Grading colored gems
  • Properties
  • Identifying colored gems theory
  • Identifying colored gems lab


  • Natural pearls
  • Cultured pearls
  • Cultured Saltwater
  • Cultured Freshwater
  • Grading/value factors
  • Industry issues


  • Industry choices and issues

Career Paths



About the instructor:

Hillary Spector has more than 25 years of experience in the gemological industry. She is a graduate gemologist (GG) and former instructor of The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the world’s largest and most respected institute of gemological research and learning. She is a former trainer and staff gemologist for Fortunoff. Ms. Spector owned a jewelry gallery where she was responsible for buying, selling, and appraising diamonds and gems. She also teaches for Jewelry Television via webinars and on-site presentations.

What students say about Hillary Spector:

Excellent course! Instructor’s knowledge of subject matter and teaching style were excellent. I am thrilled I took this class. Kara Blasco.

I love this class. I have had a considerable experience in education having gone to law school but this is the first and only class I have ever had that when it was time to go I couldn’t believe three hours went by. Hillary has extensive knowledge and a fun and friendly way of teaching. Cheryll Cusumano

This class really gave me a better understanding of what to be aware of in the jewelry industry. My goal is to study to be a graduate gemologist and this class was a perfect way to introduce myself to gemology. It really sparked my interest and was fun all the way through. Dana R. Williams

Hillary Spector is a great teacher. Adhem Hady

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