Because of the rapid increase in knowledge about precious stones on the part of the buying public, it has become necessary for the gem merchant and his clerks and salesmen to know at least as much about the subject of gemology as their better informed customers are likely to know.
In many recent articles in trade papers, attention has been called to this need, and to the provision which Columbia University has made for a course in the study of gems. The action of the National Association of Goldsmiths of Great Britain in providing annual examinations in gemology, and in granting certificates and diplomas to those who successfully pass the examinations, has also been reported, and it has been suggested that some such course should be pursued by jewelers' associations in this country. The greatest difficulty in the way of such formal study among our jewelers and gem merchants is the lack of time for attendance on formal courses, which must necessarily be given at definite times and in definite places.
As a diamond salesman was heard to say recently: "The boss said he wanted me to take in that course at Columbia, but he didn't tell me how I was going to do it. Here I am a thousand miles from Columbia, and it was only six weeks ago that he was telling me I ought to take that course. I can't stay around New York all the time." Similarly those whose work keeps them in New York might object that their hours of employment prevented attendance on day courses, and that distance from the university and fatigue prevent attendance on night courses. The great mass of gem dealers in other cities must also be considered.
It will therefore be the endeavor of this book to provide guidance for those who really want to make themselves more efficient in the gem business, but who have felt that they needed something in the way of suggestion regarding what to attempt, and how to go about it.
Study of the sort that will be suggested can be pursued in spare moments, on street cars or elevated trains, in waiting rooms, or in one's room at night. It will astonish many to find how much can be accomplished by consistently utilizing spare moments. Booker T. Washington is said to have written in such spare time practically all that he has published.