Gemology is a discipline in the combined fields of mineralogy and geology specific to natural and artificial gems and gemstones used in the making of jewelry. Over thousands of years of study, gemologists have developed the science of gemstone identification and manipulation. With a strong interest in the optical characteristics of gems, gemologists focus on crystal structure, specific gravity, refractive index, and pleochromism in polarized light, among other qualities. Since no two naturally occurring gems are identical, a gemologist’s primary objective is to properly identify a gemstone in raw form using refractometers, spectroscopes, and microscopes. These tools allow them to determine the impurities and imperfections of the gem, and to identify the gem’s critical angle, which will later determine how the gemstone is cut into jewelry. Since 1931, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), based in Carlsbad, California, has been the industry leader in gemology technologies, gemstone identification and standardization, and education for the licensing of gemstone professionals.
Eli Mirzoeff is a third-generation jeweler, gemstone expert, and owner of East Continental Gems in New York City, an exclusive provider of fine jewelry to specialty jewelry stores, luxury fashion boutiques, and department stores worldwide. Eli Mirzoeff offers clients generations of expertise in the craft of gemstone work and jewelry making.