Certified Jewelers and Appraisers

August 2013

When you are searching for a reputable jeweler or jewelry appraiser, it can be difficult to know whom to choose. Unfortunately, there are no federal guidelines or mandatory qualifications that a person has to follow or adhere to in order to operate as a jeweler or appraiser. The truth is nearly anyone can open a business or create a website claiming to be a jeweler or jewelry appraiser. This situation can make it very challenging for the average consumer who is looking for a reputable person to inspect a jewelry piece and give an honest valuation and opinion of it.

What to Look For

The American Gem Society has developed the following titles and designations for persons working in the jewelry industry. Each of these requires a certain level of training and education in order for a person to be awarded the title. AGS members must follow a strict code of ethics and also must re-certify their designations or titles each year.

  1. Registered Jeweler, RJ
    When you work with someone who is a Registered Jeweler, you can be confident that this person has a comprehensive understanding of all types of jewelry, including diamonds and gemstones. Anyone earning this title is required to complete classroom and coursework study. Additionally, a Registered Jeweler must pass written and practical exams specifically related to diamond grading.
  2. Certified Gemologist, CG
    A person who holds the title of Certified Gemologist has completed rigorous advanced training and studies which deal with diamonds and colored gemstones. A Certified Gemologist must also demonstrate a complete mastery of all precious metal testing procedures, including the ones for diamonds and gemstones.
  3. Certified Gemologist Appraiser, CGA
    This title is one of the most highly regarded in the jewelry industry. A Certified Gemologist Appraiser has extensive knowledge of diamonds, jewelry, and gemstones, and is able to identify them and determine their value. Advanced training and experience with regards to determining the value of jewelry pieces, including diamonds and gemstones, is required by anyone seeking this certification.
  4. Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser, ICGA
    This title is only given to someone whose business is strictly appraising jewelry. This person does not buy or sell jewelry of any kind, including gemstones and diamonds. In order to obtain this title, a person must have favorably completed the requirements for all of the previous titles- Registered Jeweler, Certified Gemologist, and Certified Gemologist Appraiser. Additionally, successful completion of an extensive course in personal property appraising is required to earn this title. Re-certification must be completed every year and proof of continuing education has to be submitted every five years.
  5. Certified Insurance Appraiser, CIA
    A Certified Gemologist may not fully understand what a customer or insurer may need in terms of giving an accurate appraisal. It is very possible that vital information might be omitted from an appraisal thereby rendering it basically worthless.

    Certified Insurance Appraisers are gemologists who have successfully completed additional training specifically related to writing insurance appraisals for jewelry items.

    Appraisers who hold this certification attest that any inspection which they perform on a piece of jewelry for appraisal purposes has been carried out in a gemological lab. CIAs only write their jewelry appraisals on the industry standard JISO 78/79 appraisal form which contains no disclaimers. A Certified Insurance Appraiser fully stands behind the information which he or she provides in every appraisal.