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Salaries vary widely in this field. There is usually special compensation for the willingness to travel and work under difficult conditions. Those who work on-site, whether in oil, gas, or metallurgy, can expect to start at an annual salary of about $18,000 and top out at around $30,000 per year.


A great way to combine a love of rocks and a love of beauty is to become a gemologist, a person who makes jewelry using precious stones—diamonds, rubies, emeralds, amethysts, and dozens of others. Gemologists design jewelry, cut gems, set and polish stones, and repair broken items. The basic principles of gemology and the use of jewelers' tools can be taught in about six months, and Internet courses are available. It is recommended that anyone interested in jewelry making learn CAD (computer-aided design).

About one-third of gemologists today are self-employed; others work for a jeweler or a manufacturing plant. The median annual income in this field is just under $25,000 per year.

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