The jewelry market grows ever more complex, which is why it’s important to be an informed customer—whether you’re shopping online or working directly with a jeweler. The following free online resources can improve your knowledge of gemstones, so you’re ready to make a smart investment when the time comes. Many of these may also be useful if you're a gem collector or professional appraiser.
Where to Go Online to Learn about Gems
This channel features tutorials on gemstone and precious metal testing and demonstrates the practical application of these methods.
Forgive the self-plug here, but we’ve got a wide variety of reader-friendly articles about gems and the jewelry industry with a focus on conflict-free stones and eco-friendly methods of production. Explore posts like Gem Hardness and Diamonds vs. White Sapphires to brush-up on some gemstone basics.
An Emeritus Professor at the College of Southern Nevada, Smigel has made her teaching materials on gemology available to the public.
A learning institute for professional gemologist training, the CIGEM is a fantastic resource for individuals interested in pursuing a career in gemology. You may be interested in subscribing to their quarterly newsletter.
Emporia State University offers 44 lectures and accompanying course notes on topics like gemstone identification and gemstone testing methods.
This database of public domain books on gems is an invaluable resource. The site even offers its own online reader.
Written by gemstone scholar Vincent Pardieu, this blog is for the reader interested in travel, local mining operations, and the origins of gemstones.
Looking for a spectroscopy resource? Check out John Harris’ lessons, reference charts, and illustrations on Gem Lab.
Created by FGAA Gemologist Edward Mendelson, this extensive channel features a compilation of gemology tutorials. Thoughtfully organized playlists make the browsing experience a breeze.
One of the world’s most trusted resources on gemstones, the GIA site features articles on the latest developments in the industry and a free gem encyclopedia.
This non-profit database for gem enthusiasts offers both basic and advanced tutorials on gemstones.
GemSelect.com – Gemstone Information Center
With hundreds of details articles, Gem Select is an expansive resource for information on gems.
For all things relating to gemstone magnetism, explore Kirk Feral’s research and reference charts on Gemstone Magnetism.
Gem Val helps users estimate the value of many kinds of gems using regularly updated pricing data. (Pricing data for certain gems requires a paid subscription, however.) The site also features information on historical prices.
With beautifully illustrated articles, Lotus Gemology provides detailed explanations of various principles in gemology.
This non-profit project features information on collector gemstones.
This branch of the Smithsonian Institution provides a stunning photo gallery of gemstones and minerals. Handy search filters allow you to view results by country origins and more.
Starla Turner is an experienced gemology instructor. Her engaging and informative videos may benefit the professional and hobbyist alike.
This site is especially suited for the professional gemologist or gem appraiser. Stone Group Labs offers advanced gemological testing services and global consulting. The site’s “Published Works” section features journal articles relevant to the trade.
Like the Farlang Education Center (see above), the Swedish Gem LAB is full of digitalized, non-copyrighted gemological books, a collection that offers both historical and scientific perspectives on gems.
Check out this site to access lecture notes and course materials from the department of Earth & Planetary Sciences of UC Berkeley.
This site offers gemology course notes on gemstone types, mining sources, and pricing and valuations—plus you can browse through over 6,000 photos of gemological specimens.
Courtesy of the University of Washington, full-length lecture notes and accompanying illustrations on minerals and gems are available to the public.
Visit the US Gemological Survey to learn more about the production of gemstones in the United States. You may also want to view their page on Minerals Information, which details the global supply and demand for minerals.
This free online gemology school and reference resource offers several engaging tutorials on gemology basics, including lessons on minerals, created and treated gemstones, and jewelry appraisals.
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below if there's a resource that should be added to this list!
Photo: Alejandro Escamilla via Unsplash
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