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Membership:

Membership Requirements

The American Gem Society® has four types of firm members, each having its own requirements. The four types of members are:

  • Retail Jeweler Firm
  • Supplier Firm
  • Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser Firm
  • Sustaining Firm (those that support the jewelry industry such as insurance and watch companies)

Retail Jeweler Firm

To become or remain a Retail Jeweler Firm, a jewelry firm must demonstrate and must continue to demonstrate an ability to abide by the Standards of the Society and to prove a high standard of business ethics. The qualifications for admission to the Society as a Retail Jewelry firm are as follows:

a.  The firm must have an individual who has satisfied the requirements for the title of Registered Jeweler, American Gem Society, either as a principal or employee, and whose primary place of employment is the jewelry firm;

b.  The firm must have been in business for at least two full years or one full year if the owner is an affiliate member of the American Gem Society in good standing;

c.  The firm must supply all information required in the application process.

d.  The firm must subscribe to the firm services of the Society which are used to aquaint the public with the firm's association with the Society;

e.  The firm must maintain a professional appearance;

f.  The firm must carry a representative stock of gemstone jewelry merchandise in keeping with the market area;

g.  The firm must maintain business hours in accordance with its market area;

h.  The firm must be open fifty-two (52) weeks per year or consistent with local business customs;

i.  The firm must be located in a retail store front or in an area zoned for retail;

j.  The firm must provide evidence that a minimum of fifty percent (50%) of the gross sales volume consists of fine jewelry and watches;

k.  The firm must not operate as a pawnbroker;

l.  The firm must not be a leased operation doing business under the name of another store;

m.  The firm must establish and maintain a policy that if the firm uses the nomenclature of any nationally known gemstone grading system, it strictly adheres to its standards;

n.  The firm must establish selling and advertising practices that will not allow the regular selling of merchandise at prices lower than those at which the merchandise is marked and are in accordance with all local, state, and federal guidelines;

o.  The firm must possess a Binocular Microscope;

p.  The firm must not misrepresent its merchandise in any way.

When all of the above requirements have been met, a retail firm will be elected to AGS membership.

Branch Stores

The American Gem Society will admit a branch of a member firm if at least one titleholder is permanently on staff within the confines of the local trading area (30 miles) as designated by the American Gem Society admissions board. A branch outside the local trading area must have its own titleholder on staff and must meet all requirements of an American Gem Society Retail Firm to be a Retail Jeweler Firm. Branches that do not qualify may not advertise American Gem Society Membership.


Supplier Firm

To become a Supplier Firm, a wholesale jewelry firm must demonstrate and must continue to demonstrate an ability to abide by the Standards of the Society and to prove a high standard of business ethics. The qualifications for admission to the Society as a Supplier Firm are as follows:

a. The prospective member must have three (3) letters of recommendation from American Gem Society members.

b. The prospective member must submit a letter to the Membership Committee stating the specific reason for wishing to join the American Gem Society. This letter must include the following topics:

  • The prospective member’s business policies;
  • How the applicant will contribute to the American Gem Society in his/her capacity as a supplier firm member; and
  • The benefits which the prospective firm member expects to receive as a result of their membership.

c. The firm must have an individual who has satisfied the requirements for the title of Registered Supplier, American Gem Society, either as an owner or principal employee and whose primary place of employment is with the Supplier Firm;

d. The firm must have been in business for at least two full years or one full year if the owner is an affiliate member of the American Gem Society in good standing;

e. The firm must manufacture or distribute fine jewelry, gemstones, or watches;

f. The firm must sell and distribute solely in a wholesale manner to industry retailers and not to the general consuming public;

g. The firm must be open fifty two (52) weeks per year or consistent with local business customs;

h. The firm must possess a Binocular Microscope. 

When all of the above requirments have been met, a supplier firm will be elected to AGS membership.


 

Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser Firm Membership

To become an Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser (ICGA), a firm must demonstrate and must continue to demonstrate an ability to abide by the Standards of the Society, to prove a high standard of business ethics and to show a genuine interest in the study of gems and appraisal methodology. The qualifications for admission to the Society as an Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser Firm are as follows:

a. The firm must be in the appraisal business with over fifty percent (50%) of the gross revenue derived from the appraisal of gemstone jewelry;

b. The firm must have an owner or principal of the firm who is or has previously been a Certified Gemologist Appraiser, American Gem Society in good standing for a minimum of three years;

c. The firm must have been in business as an independent entity for at least two full years;

d. The firm must have made application for accreditation of an American Gem Society Accredited Gem Laboratory;

e. The firm must abstain from any advertisement, maintenance, display, or purchase of any items of jewelry or allied products for sale to the consuming public;

f. The firm must adhere to the American Gem Society Appraisal Standards;

g. The firm must have a separate, clearly defined, and dedicated space to conduct the business of the firm;

The individual must also:
Complete the Jewelers Education Foundation (JEF) course on professional appraising—Advanced Personal Property Appraiser Course (APPA) and final examination.


 

Sustaining Firm Membership

A Sustaining Firm is not in the business of primarily selling gems or gem set jewelry. These members are not required to have a titleholder on staff. Examples of firms that qualify as Sustaining Firms are insurance companies, display companies, museums, watch companies, and industry support groups.

a. The firm must have been in business for at least two full years or one full year if the owner is an affiliate member of the American Gem Society in good standing; and

b.  The firm must be open fifty two (52) weeks per year or consistent with local business customs.

c.  The prospective member must have three (3) letters of recommendation from AGS retail members with whom they do business;

d.  The prospective member must submit to the Membership Committee a letter stating the specific reasons for wishing to joing the AGS.  This letter must include the following topics:

The prospective member's business policies; how the applicant plans to contribute to the AGS in his/her capacity as a Sustaining Firm member; and the benefits which the prospective firm member expects to receive as a result of AGS membership.

Sustaining firms must have one person complete the AGS Way course (ideally the firm principal) and successfully complete a 50-question final exam to cover important details of the society.  Course pricing is subject to change annually when budgets are determined.

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