Did you know that only 5% of jewelers, designers and appraisers have met the American Gem Society standards? We are here to tell you what exactly is the American Gem Society (AGS) and why it is so important to find a jeweler who is AGS certified.
In 1934, Robert M. Shipley founded the AGS as a not-for-profit trade association comprised of retail jewelers, independent appraisers, suppliers, and selective industry members in the North America. The goal was to build an elite group dedicated to consumer protection, ethical business practices and the development of superior gemological skills and knowledge. The AGS was built with consumers in mind to protect them as well as their purchases by putting your trust into working with a consummate professional who adheres to the highest standards of the jewelry industry.
There are several titleholders which include:
- Registered Jewelers (RJ)- a title earned by those who have completed the required coursework and classroom study of diamonds & gemstones who also adhere to the AGS‘s Code of Ethics. This title but be renewed annual to increase knowledge and ethical practices
- Certified Gemologists (CG)- A Certified Gemologist has taken advanced studies in diamonds and colored gemstones. A CG also demonstrates mastery of diamond, gemstone, and precious metal testing procedures
- Certified Gemologist Appraisers (CGA)- This title is the most highly regarded among peers in the jewelry industry. Why? Because it certifies that the sales person can identify diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry and determine their value. This title requires advanced training and experience in determining the value of diamonds and gemstones
- Independent Certified Gemologist Appraisers (ICGA)– This title represents those individuals whose sole business is appraising. He or she does not purchase or sell diamonds, gemstones, or jewelry.To receive this certification, the appraiser has completed the requirements for RJ, CG, and CGA, plus has successfully completed an extensive course in personal property appraising. He or she must not only complete the annual re-certification exam, but also submit proof of continuing education in their field every five years
In order for a jeweler to become certified by the AGS, one must meet strict criteria that include:
- Have an exceptionally high level of gemological knowledge including successfully completing prescribed courses and classes in diamonds and colored gemstones
- Possess a reputation for unquestioned integrity and must conduct business to enhance the confidence of the public
- Demonstrate sincere interest in ethical business practices and exemplify this belief
- Be a retail jeweler, jewelry business supplier or independent appraisal business that has been established for at least two years with demonstrated financial stability
- All titleholders must be re-certified every year
In order to maintain membership, jewelers in the American Gem Society must agree to their Code of Ethics:
- Provide full disclosure of all facts pertaining to the products they sell
- Never intentionally deceive their employees, consumers, vendors, or business partners
- Compete fairly and never speak unprofessionally about their competitors. Likewise, encourage their colleagues in the jewelry industry to embrace these principals.
- Resolve any customer complaints relating to the sale of a product
- Not sell conflict diamonds. AGS jewelers must make every effort to fully comply with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the World Diamond Council System of Warranties
- Continue their gemological and jewelry education, always improving their knowledge and keeping up with trends in jewelry and ethical business practices.
- Adhere to anti-money laundering (AML) program, which is designed to comply with the USA Patriot Act
*Many excerpts were derived from the AGS website