Doing a Graduate Gemologist Course with GIA - By Navneet Agarwal

Graduate Gemologists Course with GIA

First of all if you don’t already know Gemology is the science of natural and artificial gems and gemstones, and is a popular course of study for people who wish to go into the gem or jewelry business. My name is Navneet Agarwal, I completed my GG course from GIA in 2013-2014 batch. This blog of mine is for various people writing on your company blog, I will personally share my technical experience and detailed information at a much advanced gemological level.

Let’s start with a little background first, well the Gemological Institute of America or GIA as most people refer to it. Established in 1931, GIA is the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. A public benefit, non-profit institute, GIA is the leading source of knowledge, standards, and education in gems and jewelry.

About Graduate Gemology Course 

The Graduate Gemologist course with GIA or more specifically, the GIA Graduate Gemologist program gives you extensive knowledge of diamonds and colored stones/gemstones you need to succeed anywhere in the world within the jewelry industry. You’ll gain both technical knowledge and utilizable skills to evaluate gemstones by the 4Cs (color, clarity, cut, and carat weight), the International Diamond Grading System™, and the Colored Stone Grading System.

The course covers knowledge on various subjects like, Diamonds and Diamond Grading (Judge and grade diamonds by the 4Cs and color), Colored stones and colored stone grading (Learn the characteristics of colored stones, with a focus on ruby, sapphire, and emerald), Gem Identification (Identify more than 60 species of gemstones, distinguish natural gems from synthetics, and detect gem treatments), Equipment and Instrumentation (Learn diamond identification and grading skills GIA graders use), Treatment, Synthetics and Imitations (Identify diamonds that have been treated or are imitations), Markets and Supply Chains (Understand how market factors and the supply chain affect value) .In Finer detail this is what you can expect to learn and be able to do once you are Graduated Gemologist. You will develop hands-on experience with the GIA International Diamond Grading System™ and the 4Cs (color, clarity, cut, and carat weight) and appreciate how they affect diamond value, Grade diamonds in the D-to-Z color range consistently and accurately, Use gemological equipment and procedures to identify and grade hundreds of gemstones, Identify gemstone characteristics, simulants, and treatments, and anticipate when advanced testing is required, Use technical knowledge for effective sales and excellent service, Discover how gemstones go from formation to the retail counter

Where? How? Why?

Where and how you choose to do your studies is up to you and your circumstances. It’s fairly flexible as you will see, you can study on campus or on a distance (E-learning) program, which consists of 5 eLearning courses and 3 lab classes. For example Carlsbad in California, USA is good if you come from a generational gemstone background like your family business. New York, USA has the best course in Diamonds or GD (Graduate Diamonds), Belgium and Mumbai, India is also very good for the GD course. Bangkok is good for GG (Graduate Gemologist) and Graduate Colored Stones.

Best  Course to do
In our opinion the GG (Graduate Gemologist) is the best course to do as this gives you a wide spectrum of skills for all precious gemstones and semi-precious gemstones. There are some great career paths that these qualifications can lead to. They will steer you in the direction of careers like Appraiser, Auction House Jewelry Specialist, Buyer, Estate Jewelry Dealer, Instructor, Jewelry Business Owner, Lab and Research Professional, Retail Sales and Wholesaler - 
The industry connections that you will make at the GIA are very important and useful to lead you in the right direction, meet the right people etc. For students who in the future would like to work in the USA or export to the USA it is imperative that you do the course in the country so that you can learn and understand the local market and business ethic etc.

 GIA in Carlsbad, California, USA
From personal experience the GIA Carlsbad Campus in California is a very beautiful place to do your studies. The region has many strawberry farms around , it has got a great nightlife with lots of modern & retro style nightclubs. There are also a good variety of quality restaurants as well as all the top franchises and eateries. Another big point is the BEACH! With many Sunday- brunch type places around to wind down the weekend and get some sun. However if you are in Asia and don’t plan a trip to study in America then you should think carefully about the cost of this qualification as it will set you back around $20 000 US.

 Images courtesy of GIA, Carlsbad,USA
Don’t despair just yet though here are some alternatives. Thailand is one of the world’s most important gem producing countries and a lot of people come to Bangkok to study Gemology on many different levels and specialized courses etc. The Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand is one of the world’s best places to study to become a gemologist. The organization offers an FGA Gemologist Diploma Program, and an HRD: Certified Diamond Grader Diploma Program, as well as several jewelry design courses. The courses are held in English and are accredited through either the Gemology Association of Great Britain or the Antwerp Diamond High Council in Holland. Expect a diploma here to set you back +- $5’500.This does not include accommodation.
 The Asian Institute of Gemological Studies offers a number of gemology courses, beginning with once-off courses for beginners who are interested in the basics. The Introduction to Gemology is a 5 day course that will get you started on your way, if you want to go all the way, they do have a 6 month Accredited Gemologist Diploma and this is the one most people take and our recommendation. This course is a little more expensive and will cost +-$9’100 for the six month course. This does not include accommodation either.

The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in Bangkok you can start off with a gem identification class, or a jewelry design class. You can also do the Graduate Gemologists Course with GIA in the heart of Bangkok. If you’re keen on distance learning, they also offer this with an Accelerated Gemology Diploma, Accelerated Diamonds Diploma or an Accelerated Colored Stones Diploma. With fees for a Graduate Gemologist Diploma currently at +- $13’000 so make sure you really want to be a certified gemologist before signing up here.

So to conclude there are a variety of options available to study Graduate Gemology abroad (Carlsbad, USA) and in Bangkok through the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), The Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand and The Asian Institute of Gemological Studies to name a few.

Happy Studies,
Navneet Agarwal
(I provide detailed technical information to readers that are experienced in the gems and jewelry business)