ruby ring - Myanmarruby ring - Myanmar

What’s the Difference Between Gemology and Mineralogy?

There are key differences between gemology and mineralogy. Learn about these disciplines and how studying mineralogy can benefit gemologists.

13 Minute Read

HomeLearning CenterWhat’s the Difference Between Gemology and Mineralogy?
corundum - Africa - mineralogy and gemology
The mineral corundum, sapphire and ruby varieties, in natural matrix and cut shapes from African sources. Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

An Overview of the Principal Differences Between Gemology and Mineralogy

  • Gemologists and mineralogists both study minerals. However, gemology focuses on a subset of minerals used as gemstones in addition to non-mineral gemstones (like amber and pearls) and synthetic materials. Mineralogy focuses on minerals of all kinds (and only minerals).
  • Gemological analysis is limited to testing samples with non-destructive procedures. In contrast, mineralogical analysis can include a broader range of tests, even some that destroy portions of the test samples.
  • Gemology primarily contributes to the gem and jewelry trade, both the industry and their consumers. Mineralogy has applications within many industries, from agriculture to aerospace.

What Do Gemologists and Mineralogists Study?

Gemologists and mineralogists both study minerals. Prized gemstones such as natural diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are all minerals. Diamonds are a unique mineral species. Rubies and sapphires are varieties of the corundum mineral species. Emeralds are a variety of the beryl mineral species. Gemologists focus on minerals celebrated for their appearance and often cut for display or jewelry use. Mineralogists focus on

Olena Rybnikova, PhD

Olena Rybnikova is a gemologist and mineralogist. She has a PhD in mineralogy and petrology specializing in beryllium minerals and is a certified Applied Jewelry Professional accredited by the Gemological Institute of America. Her passion is actively promoting knowledge and appreciation of nature, geology, and gemstones.

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