Step 1: Introduction to Gemology

Lesson 10

Getting Started

Gemology involves studying the physical and optical properties that make gems such unique little treasures. Gem identification involves analyzing these properties to differentiate one species from another. There are a number of gemology tools used to distinguish or measure these properties. Before you start buying instruments and setting up your gem lab, you need to invest in good reference materials to make sense of what the instruments will tell you.

Gemology Reference Materials

All the information you’ll need for the International Gem Society (IGS) certification course can be found in the IGS Learning Center. However, you may want to add other resources to your library.


We highly recommend the Gemology Tools software. This makes gem identification much easier, greatly reducing the time spent identifying gems and the chance of errors. Our article, “The Art and Science of Identifying Gemstones,” details a new method of gem identification based on the Gemology Tools program. (Read our Gemology Tools review for more details).


The Color Encyclopedia of Gemstones by Dr. Joel Arem lists approximately 3,000 natural minerals and synthetic materials that have been cut into gems. This comprehensive…