Glossary of Terms
American Gem Society
The American Gem Society is a not-for-profit trade association of fine jewelers, jewelry manufacturers, and suppliers in the United States and
Canada.These members are dedicated to consumer protection, ethical business practices, and the development of superior gemological skills and knowledge. Founded by Robert M. Shipley in 1934, today the American Gem Society includes 1,300 retail, supplier, and sustaining members firms and nearly 3,500 individual titleholders.
To qualify for membership and ensure excellence, individual American Gem Society titleholders and designees must pass stringent examinations on diamonds and colored gemstones. All Registered Jewelers, Certified Gemologists, Certified Gemologist Appraisers, and Certified Sales Associates are required to be recertified annually.
For an independent opinion of quality and/or value, locate an Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser Firm of the American Gem Society (ICGA). The ICGA member not only meets the rigid Appraisal Standards of the American Gem Society, but also employs a credentialed appraiser -Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA) - who has completed advanced studies in appraisal methodologies.
Only 5% of all jewelers, designers, appraisers, and suppliers have met the exacting standards required for membership in the American Gem Society. In order for a firm to become a member of the American Gem Society, it must meet a list of rigid requirements.
The firm owners, principals, or employees must have completed an accredited or graduate program from the Gemological Institute of America or Gem-A (Gemomological Association of Great Britain).In addition, they must have completed further studies with the American Gem Society.
The firm must hold a reputation for unquestioned integrity in the business community and must be operated in a manner that enhances the confidence of the public in the jewelry industry.
The owners and principals must demonstrate that they are genuinely interested in high business ethics and that the firm exemplifies this belief.
The firm must have been in business for at least two years and must demonstrate financial stability.
Upon completion of rigorous courses and exams, the American Gem Society confers titles according to the level of gemological education and experience of members.These titles are renewed annually with a Recertification Exam.
In terms of appeal, diamond is the world's most popular gems. It has great brilliance, plus the delightful quality known as fire or dispersion (the ability to turn white light into a rainbow of colors). Diamond is graded on four qualities, commonly known as the 4 Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight.
When American Gem Society titleholders evaluate an unmounted diamond according to American Gem Society Standards, they weigh the diamond to exacting standards and assign grades for cut, color, and clarity under controlled conditions using specialized instruments and the latest technology according to the strictest guidelines established by the American Gem Society.
The American Gem Society Diamond Grading Standards
The American Gem Society Diamond Grading Standards evaluate three of the four value factors - cut, color and clarity - on the society's own 0-10 scale. The scale begins at 0 (zero), the highest grade, and goes down to 10, the lowest. The three factors are expressed separately along with the fourth factor, the carat weight of the stone, for the final AGS Grade.
The American Gem Society Laboratories was established to provide consumers with credible, yet unbiased, analysis of a diamond. The AGS Laboratories bases its analysis on the American Gem Society's Diamond Standards and maintains the most stringent criteria in the industry.
Only an accredited AGS member or the American Gem Society Laboratories can issue a grading report that uses the AGS Diamond Grading Standards.
The American Gem Society Conclave
The American Gem Society Conclave is the premier educational conference in the jewelry industry. The multi-day event features education sessions on gemology, business, marketing and sales. Conclave attendees have access to world reknowned business speakers, education and networking sessions and the up-to-date technology advances.
The quarterly magazine publication for American Gem Society Members.
The American Gem Society bestows titles on worthy professionals who have passed a rigorous set of examinations.Our Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA) title is the most highly regarded in the industry. Earning the CGA title requires beyond the Graduate Gemologist diploma advanced training and experience in identification and valuation of gemstones and jewelry. All CGA titleholders also must pass an annual Recertification Exam to maintain this prestigious title. The American Gem Society confers the following titles:
Registered Jeweler (RJ)
Registered Supplier (RS)
Certified Gemologist (CG)
Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA)
CSA (Certified Sales Associate)
Individuals who have successfully completed the Graduate Sales Associate course, and The AGS Professional module and are actively selling in an American Gem Society Member Firm. This designation also requires the successful completion of an annual Recertification Exam.
The American Gem Society offers a quick and effective Colorvision screening that is designed to evaluate color proficiency and identify possible deficiencies. Colorvision screening is available to members and non-members alike and is administered by AGS staff members at various industry tradeshows, including AGTA, JCK - Las Vegas and JA New York. CGAs are required to take the Colorvision exam every four years if under 55 years of age, every two years if 55 or older.
Please view our Calendar for a list of scheduled testing.
Advanced Personal Property Appraisal course
The Advanced Personal Property Appraisal course is offered through the Jeweler's Education Foundation of the American Gem Society. It is available to all individuals interested in the professional field of appraising. The three-part home-study course covers appraisal theory and the legalities and guidelines of professional appraising, takes approximately 3 to 6 months to complete and concludes with a proctored exam.
Successful completion of this three-part course is required of the firm principal of an ICGA firm. For more information, contact the Education Department at 866-805-6500 x1034 or AGSEducation@ags.org.
Graduate Sales Associate course
The Graduate Sales Associate course is one of the most comprehensive sales associate training programs available in the jewelry industry. Course participants receive initial training on product knowledge, sales techniques and success strategies. The seven-chapter home-study course contains pertinent facts on diamonds, colored stones, pearls, metals, watches and period jewelry, along with information about the jewelry industry and the importance of good customer service and ethical business practices. Upon successful completion of a proctored final exam, the associate is awarded a Graduate Sales Associate Certificate from the Jewelers Education Foundation of the American Gem Society.