Diploma in Gemmology

College of Science

Course overview

This Diploma in Scientific Studies (Gemmology) provides an introduction to the science of gemmology for people with a general interest in gemstones, as well as for those working in the jewellery and related trades. The programme aims to provide the student with a broad introduction to the study of gemstones. It teaches a range of laboratory–based techniques used to identify gemstones and provides the student with hands-on experience in identification protocols using a comprehensive collection of gemstones. The programme also includes studies of typical geological settings of gemstones during lectures and field trips to Connemara.


Who is this course intended for?

The course is open to everyone and is designed for those with no previous training in gemmology.   It is suitable as an introductory course for people with a general interest in gemstones, as well as for those working in the jewellery and related trades.

Key facts

Entry requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for the Diploma in Gemmology. Candidates who are 21 years or over on or before January 1st of year of entry may gain entry to the programme on the basis of mature years. Candidates under 21 years should meet the minimum matriculation requirements as outlined in the Frequently Asked Questions section.

Duration: 2 years, part-time

Next start date: September 2013

ECTS weighting: 30

Average intake: Unlimited

Closing date: Please contact the Programme Co-ordinator.

NFQ level: 7

Mode of study: Classroom-based

Course outline

The programme consists of lectures, laboratory demonstrations and practicals including tuition on good practice in the identification of gemstones from the programme’s teaching collection which comprises in excess of 200 cut stones. The programme also focuses on the examination of these gemstones using a range of laboratory instruments including binocular microscope, refractometer, spectroscope, polariscope and conoscope.


The programme includes the following topics:

  • The Dynamic Earth
  • Earth History
  • Earth Materials
  • The Formation and Geological Settings of Gemstones
  • Global Distribution of Gemstones
  • The Crystallography and Mineralogy of Gemstones
  • The Optical Properties of Crystals Gemstone
  • Properties and Instrumentation
  • Recording Gemstone Properties/Identification
  • Protocols
  • Fashioning of Gemstones
  • Synthetic Gemstones (Enhancements and Imitations)
  • Systematic Recording of the Physical and Optical
  • Properties of Gemstones

There are also two, one day field trips to Connemara to study crystals and minerals in their natural settings

Applications and selections

Please contact the Programme Co-ordinator.


Maria McHugh

Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development

NUI Galway, Nuns' Island

T: 091 492144
F: 091 525051
E: maria.mchugh@nuigalway.ie



Requirements and assessment

All modules in the Diploma are individually assessed. Assessment is by examination (written and practical) at the end of each semester and by continuous assessment.


This is a two-year, part-time programme. Classes are held one evening per week (Wednesdays).

Find out more

Prof. Martin Feely
Earth and Ocean Sciences
School of Natural Sciences
NUI Galway
Phone: 091 492129
Fax: 091 494533
E martin.feely@nuigalway.ie


Dr. Alessandra Costanzo
Earth and Ocean Sciences
School of Natural Sciences
NUI Galway
Phone: 091 492087
Fax: 091 494533




Fees for this course

EU (Total): €970 p.a. 2014/15 (Inclusive of Levy)
Non-EU (Total): €1,470 p.a. 2014/15


Past student

Georgina Callanan

For as long as I can remember I have had an interest in gemstones. This fascinating course takes you through the geological formation of gemstones, identifying gemstone properties and most of all, hands on practical experience with gemmological equipment and specimens. This course helped me get back to learning something exciting and new and made learning fun again. It impressed me so much that I am currently pursuing a career in gemmology. Most of all, what made the course experience all the more worthwhile was the care and dedication shown by the course lecturers ensuring that everyone was learning together and that the course was enjoyable for all.