The most frequently asked questions about the ISG programs.

  • Who is the ISG? When were you established?

    The ISG was originally an Allied Teaching Centre of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain in the late 1990's under the name of Robert James FGA, GG. In 2002 we became a Gem Tutorial Centre for the Gem-A. In 2004 the ISG established ourselves as an independent gemology school in order that we could provide quality education to a far greater number of people by offering courses over the internet...and at a price that would allow more people to study gemology. Our purpose is to make the study of gemology available to a greater number of people and in places that would not normally have access to this training.

  • Are you Accredited by the Better Business Bureau?

    Since 2006 the ISG has held the highest rating of A+ as an Accredited Business of the Better Business Bureau. This rating is based on the quality of our program and our commitment to ethics and integrity in the gemology education industry.

  • Are you recognized by the jewelry and gemstone industry?

    Absolutely. The ISG is a member of the Diamond Council of America, American Gem Trade Association, Jewelers of America, Texas Jewelers Association, Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America, Polygon, and is an Accredited Business of the Better Business Bureau with a A+ rating. We have also been endorsed by such names as the North Carolina Jewelers Association and our credentials are accepted by the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. The ISG is also a certified Continuing Education Provider by the Texas Department of Insurance and others.

  • While searching the internet I found a really nasty site about the ISG. What is this?

    The simple truth is: this is a cyber attack on the ISG. In 2008 the ISG helped stop a $100 million dollar fraud being perpetrated on consumers by some of the television shopping channels. Two weeks after we prevailed in litigation in the California Supreme Court, the cyber attack was launched by perpetrators of the fraud, with the help of one of our competitors who also offers gemology classes. The information in this site is false and malicious, and has hurt our entire ISG world-wide community. We won litigation against the perpetrators and were awarded ownership of the first website they used, but they simply moved the site to Iceland where it cannot be stopped. It is a cyber attack, and it's purpose is to bully and threaten the ISG Community due to our standing up against fraud in the industry. You are invited to read the full story in this mini-book on PDF that details the facts about this situation here: Gobsmacked! Exposing the Dark Side of the International Gemstone Industry.

  • What is the RGA program?

    The Registered Gemologist Appraiser program consists of six (6) courses in Gemology that are geared toward providing you a full education in the study of gemstones and jewelry, plus two (2) courses in jewelry appraisal and evaluating damaged jewelry for salvage and SIU (Special Investigations Unit) investigations for the insurance industry. This provides the RGA program with a total of eight (8) courses in gemology and appraisal to provide you with a complete education in gemology and jewelry appraisal. The ISG Registered Gemologist Appraiser Program Package is $2,995.00 for US Students. The same package for international students is US$3,495.00 due to higher costs of international shipping. Gem Equipment is optional at registration. Equipment is not required until you complete all courses so you can wait on the equipment if you wish. Equipment can be purchased at any time based on availability.

  • If I take the RG program and decide to do the RGA, do I have to pay the full amount again?

    No. Remember that the RG is simply a part of the RGA, so upgrading to the RGA from the RG only costs the difference in price of the two programs, not the full program again. So if you pay for the RG program and decide to upgrade to the RGA, you only pay the difference of $1,000.00 in tuition for the four additional courses to complete the RGA program.

  • How much is the total tuition to the ISG?

    Our package programs are complete, there is nothing else to buy. The full ISG Registered Gemologist program including the four (4) courses in gemology and all practicals and exams is $2,495.00 for U.S. students, US$2,995.00 for international students. This included the free Gemstone Reference Book Set that you keep. The ISG Registered Gemologist Appraiser Program Package is U$2,995.00 for US Students and $3,495.00 for international students including the Study Gem Package. These are complete programs with all courses, exams, and reference books. The Gem Equipment packages are optional and can be purchased at any time.

  • That is significantly less than the GIA. Are your courses on par with the GIA.

    Yes. In fact, it is the GIA students who also study with us who have termed the ISG program to actually be superior to the GIA since our program is easier to understand, has more practical knowledge, and is a combination of the FGA program and GIA program brought together to provide a unique study experience. We are not as famous since the GIA has annual revenue of over $300 million dollars in tax free income from selling diamond grading report. They use that money to overwhelm all other gemology schools in advertising and promotion.

  • How can you do this so cheap?

    Because our program utilizes the insurance industry's education delivery systems by using online HTML5 mobile friendly presentations and PDF course files delivered online, we can offer quality education without the cost of a bricks and mortar school facility. We have utilized the power of the internet to make gemology study affordable for students around the world.

  • Do you have a payment plan?

    We do not have our own in-house payment plan due to the cost to hire and staff an Accounts Receivable office. This would cause a significant tuition increase.

  • How much will I have to spend for textbooks?

    Nothing. All of the material you need is on line via internet or PDF download able format. We also provide a 5 book reference set in all phases of jewelry for all students as part of our tuition. Its all included. Everything you need to complete the courses is provided to you as part of the program. There is nothing more to purchase.

  • Do you have additional gemological equipment for sale?

    We do offer a line of professional quality gemological equipment. This equipment is available at special prices to insure that our ISG Students get professional quality at the lowest possible price.

  • How are the classes structured?

    The classes consist of online, mobile friendly presentations that have embedded videos to help you with your study. The course notes are also available online via PDF files to download to read at your leisure. You simply read the course material and study the video presentations that are embedded with the course notes. Then there are online exams and practical exams that you take whenever you are ready. We will also soon be offering support classes by ZOOM format online. Please note that we have structured our courses to be totally online with embedded videos to help save time and costs.

  • Do you send me diamonds and colored gemstones to practice grade?

    Yes, we have an extensive inventory of gemstones, diamonds, and pearls that we send you for hand's-on study. You will receive a set of of these in the Workbook Practical Set that is sent to you for practice. Once you complete your identifications and grading you will return all to the ISG office for instructor review and feedback. Plus, if you feel you would like additional practice you can have more sets sent to you for a small handling fee of $75.00.

  • So I study at my own pace?

    Yes. The courses are online whenever you are ready 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you can study at your own pace and whenever the time is right for you. There is a registration limit on the programs: RGA 12 months and RG 6 months.

  • Do I need any kind of training to start the classes?

    No. In fact that courses are specifically designed for beginners. But we have many students enrolled in major gemological institutes like the GIA and Gem-A who find that the ISG courses help them with their studies in the other schools.

  • What is the average time to complete the programs?

    The average completion time is 6 months for the full RGA programs. Virtually all of our students study part time while working at other jobs so this average is based on those times.

  • Are international students required to take practical exams?

    Yes, we provide the same practical program modules to international students as US students. We ship world-wide. However, to some countries we require a security deposit as shipping times are getting very long. Contact the ISG office for more information on this.

  • So international students must pay more for the program because of the practicals?

    Due to the greatly increased shipping fees and charges, we have had to raise our tuition rates for international students by a small percentage to cover these costs. There is no extra charge beyond the international tuition rate. To certain countries we require a security deposit, but this is refunded upon return of the packages.

  • Is there a time limit to finish the courses?

    The ISG RGA programs have a 18 month registration period, the RG 9 months. This has proven to be more than enough for previous students. If you experience delays for personal or professional reasons, we have a time extension program available..

  • Do I get a certificate for completing the courses?

    Yes. You get a Certificate of Completion after you finish the final exam for each course.

  • Can I get a job in the jewelry industry with my ISG diploma.

    Yes. The level of gemology you will learn here will allow you to have the knowledge and expertise required to get a job as a gemologist within the jewelry and gemstone industries, and our graduates are in demand by such industry leaders as Tiffany and Company.

  • Can I do appraisals with your diploma?

    Yes. The ISG Registered Gemologist Appraiser program offers a complete gemology and appraisal education. We are the only gemology school in the world to also be certified Insurance Continuing Education providers, meaning that we are licensed insurance professionals who teach both the insurance industry and the jewelry industry regarding appraisals of personal property items in the category of jewelry and gemstones.

We invite you to contact us for any additional questions you may have. Just click on the Contact the ISG button at the top of the page.