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 recognized by the jewelry and gemstone industry?

    Absolutely. The ISG is a member of the 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.

  • 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 Gem Equipment and StudyGems packages are now included at no extra charge as part of this program package at $2,295.00, however for those who already own equipment the program is available without the equipment package.

  • 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 $400.00 in tuition for the additional courses to complete the RGA program.

  • How much is tuition to the ISG?

    Effective 10 November 2014 the full ISG Registered Gemologist program including RG Program Tuition and ISG Gem Equipment Package is US$2,195.00. The ISG Registered Gemologist Appraiser program including RG Program Tuition and ISG Gem Equipment Package is US$2,695.00. Both programs are available without equipment at a lower price.

  • 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.

  • How can you do this so cheap?

    Because our program utilizes the insurance industry's education delivery systems by using online Adobe Flash 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?

    No. Effective 13 May 2013 we have suspended our payment program due to problems in trying to maintain an accounts receivable staff at our low tuition rate. The cost to hire and staff an accounts receivable office was going to drive up tuition cost beyond an acceptable level. As a result we have suspended our payment program.

  • How much will I have to spend for textbooks?

    Nothing. All of the material you need is on line via internet or PDF downloadable format. 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 gemological equipment for sale?

    We do offer a line of professional quality gemological equipment to registered students of the ISG. This equipment is available at special prices only to our students to insure that they get professional quality at the lowest possible price. However, the ISG Gem Equipment Package the comes with the full RG or RGA program is all you need to complete either of these programs. Nothing else needs to be purchased to complete the programs.

  • How are the classes structured?

    The classes consist of online Adobe Flash presentations that have embedded videos to help you with your study. The course notes are also available online 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. 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, colored gemstones and pearls to practice grade?

    Yes. We provide graded practical exercises in a full array of diamonds, colored gemstones and pearls. The practicals are taken after all courses in the RGA program have been completed, and before the Final Exams are started.

  • So I study at my own pace?

    Yes. The courses and exams 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.

  • 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 8 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. International students will be required to place a refundable US$800.00 deposit with the ISG office when requesting practicals in diamonds, colored gemstone and pearls. One deposit will cover all practicals. But these are the same practicals as required of US students

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

    No. The $800.00 security deposit is returned after all practicals are completed and returned. This is required for all international students.

  • Is there a time limit to finish the courses?

    The ISG RG and RGA programs have a 2 year study time. 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. And a Final Exam for the various programs that will earn you a diploma.

  • 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.