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:
- 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;
- 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;
- The firm must supply all information required in the application process.
- 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;
- The firm must maintain a professional appearance;
- The firm must carry a representative stock of gemstone jewelry merchandise in keeping with the market area;
- The firm must maintain business hours in accordance with its market area;
- The firm must be open fifty-two (52) weeks per year or consistent with local business customs;
- The firm must be located in a retail store front or in an area zoned for retail;
- The firm must provide evidence that a minimum of fifty percent (50%) of the gross sales volume consists of fine jewelry and watches;
- The firm must not operate as a pawnbroker;
- The firm must not be a leased operation doing business under the name of another store;
- 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;
- 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;
- The firm must possess a Binocular Microscope;
- 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.
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.