Who Is A Gemmologist?

A gemmologist is someone who is able to identify gemstones, and possible treatments and determine if the gemstone is natural or synthetic.  It sounds very easy.  If someone tells you that the red stone in your ring is a ruby are they a gemmologist?

Ruby Flame Fusion Synthetic

Photo by J. McKercher

Is it a ruby?

A gemmologist is someone who has studied gemstones and their treatments.  A gemmologist can differentiate between a natural ruby, an imitation ruby and a synthetic ruby.  The fact that you paid a great deal of money for the red gemstones is not a factor when a gemmologist is deciding on the identity of the stone.

Fortunately for the public an accredited gemmologist can be identified by the letters that they are able to use after their names.  In Canada the professional gemmology exams are provided by the Canadian Gemmological Association.  If you have passed your exams and are accepted by the association as a Fellow, then you can use the letters FCGmA after your name.  Each country has standards and a designation that lets the public know if someone is a professional gemmologist.

The following are some of the designations for a professional gemmologist:

FCGmA, Fellow of the Canadian Gemmological Association

GG, Graduate Gemologist, Awarded by the Gemological Institute of America

FGA, Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain

FGAA, Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Australia

So is it a Ruby?
Flame Fusion Synthetic Ruby Curved Striations

Photo by J. McKercher

A gemmologist would use an instrument called refractometer to determine that this was indeed a ruby, and then the gemmologist would look at this gemstone under a gemmological microscope and determine that it was a flame fusion synthetic ruby.  No, it is not a natural ruby.

Your Input(Join our poll or scroll down and leave a comment)

I plan to introduce different gemstones alphabetically.  I will start with “A” (Ammolite) and see where it leads me.  Leave a comment and let me know if you have a favourite gemstone that starts with the letter “B”.  Take the poll!  Can you name a reference to a gemstone in a song, movie or book?


About Jen McKercher

Jennifer McKercher teaches gemmology at the Canadian Gemmological Association. A passion for gemstones drives Jen to learn as much as she can about the wonders of gemstones and how they enhance our lives.

Posted on May 31, 2011, in Gemmology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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