Rapaport Magazine

On the job

A look at some of the career options out there for those who want to work with diamonds.

By Adrianne Sanogo

Image: Ocean Diamonds

Maybe it’s time for a career change, or maybe you’re looking to enter the diamond industry? While the global economy and current events — such as the sanctions on Russia — are impacting the price of luxury goods, the diamond and jewelry sector is doing well, and career opportunities in this field continue to expand. The increase in lab-grown diamonds on the market is also influencing which skills are in demand today. Advanced training, education and equipment are more necessary than ever to distinguish these goods from natural diamonds.

In my own career as a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) graduate gemologist, I’ve focused heavily on identifying and separating natural diamonds from lab-created ones, consulting with designers who want to utilize diamonds in their jewelry pieces for the first time, and educating the public about the 4Cs through various social media platforms. Here, I’ve put together a list of traditional diamond careers — and more innovative ones (see box) — for your education, information and enjoyment. Some require formal schooling, while others require years of training and patience, but all are rewarding in their own way.

Graduate gemologist/graduate diamond

I received a mug as a gift from a mentee, and printed on it are four satirical definitions of a gemologist. My favorite is “a person who solves problems you don’t know you have in ways you can’t understand.” The ideal candidate for this job enjoys problem solving, since most gems and jewelry carry a lot of information within. There is research involved, so curiosity is beneficial. If you didn’t love science during your school days, you will learn to love it in this role. For those who enjoy color theory, you will have plenty of choices within all the gemstone species. Finally, discipline and attention to detail are key factors that contribute to success in these two careers.


If you have a steady hand and love precision, math, and attention to detail, this is an ideal career for you. Using precise measurements, the cutter shapes and polishes the diamond. Minimizing the clarity characteristics and saving weight are important steps in the process. The results reveal tiny spectrums of color, light, and the diamond’s inherent beauty.


Imagine getting to look at thousands of these tiny light- and color-reflectors every day while expertly handling, sorting and matching them perfectly. These skills take many years to master and are essential in this role.

Deep DiveOne fascinating and relatively recent career option in the industry is to become a diamond diver. That’s what Robert Goodden did, combining several of his passions to start his company, Ocean Diamonds.

“During the ’90s, I became aware of...diamonds under the sea off the west coast of Namibia and South Africa, and these diamonds appealed to my loves of the sea, of mineral geology and of adventure,” he recalls. “I had graduated with a degree in mining and geology, and from the start had specialized in minerals from under the sea. Together with colleagues, I had founded a successful offshore contractor, and here was a chance to use my geological and engineering knowledge coupled with my love of the wild.”

Having been a diver, he says, he “understood the challenges and physics of the profession as well as the dangers. I had worked the seabed in various environments and understood the use of equipment when mixed with the sea.”

The company emphasizes the stones’ origins in its branding. “Until we created Ocean Diamonds, all the production from the sea was treated like any other diamonds, indistinguishable from those coming from the land,” explains Goodden. “Ocean Diamonds is the first to distinguish marine diamonds for their provenance. We only promote diver-recovered diamonds, which we audit, certify and laser mark so the customer can have full confidence in their remarkable story.” oceandiamonds.com

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - May 2022. To subscribe click here.

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