If you’re diamond shopping, the American Gem Society is one of your best friends. When it comes to consumer education and keeping businesses ethical, the American Gem Society is at the forefront.
So what is the American Gem Society, and why do they matter? We’ll cover everything you need to know in this article, including the history of the American Gem Society and what it means to be a member of this exclusive organization.
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The American Gem Society was founded in 1934. Its founder, Robert M. Shipley, was a jeweler at the time. During this time, there was a huge level of distrust for the diamond industry, and Shipley realized that it was because not many jewelers had decent gemological knowledge.
Shipley got a handful of jewelers together and formed the Gemological Institute of America and later the AGS. These organizations were implemented to train certified gemologists so that jewelry professionals knew what they were talking about and could regain consumer trust.
The AGS mission is to provide consumer protection when it comes to buying jewelry. The AGS provides education and information about diamond grading so that consumers know what they’re getting when they go diamond shopping.
The American Gem Society is a nonprofit trade association made up of around 3,000 jewelers, suppliers, retailers, and others in the gem industry. They are mostly concerned with consumer protection, maintaining high ethical standards in the diamond industry, and providing education and training to increase gemological knowledge.
Having been around since 1934, the AGS has had some notable accomplishments in the jewelry industry.
They invented the first scientifically based, repeatable method for providing a cut grade to diamonds. This was important because it provided jewelers and appraisers with a method to accurately grade and price their diamond wares based on the cut.
The AGS also created the “Ideal” cut grade for round brilliant diamonds and provided the first grading reports for fancy diamond shapes, including the princess, emerald, and oval cuts.
What does it mean to be an AGS member?
To become an AGS member (or AGS jeweler), you must have certain credentials and display excellent business ethics. The AGS claims that only one in twenty jewelers meets their exacting criteria.
First, the jeweler must have an employee with credentials as a certified gemologist or appraiser from either the Gemological Institute of America or the Gemological Association of Great Britain.
Second, the jeweler has to prove that they have high business ethics and operate their business with “unquestioned integrity.”
Third, the jewelry firm must have been in business for over two years and be financially stable.
Some of the things which disqualify a jeweler from becoming an AGS member include false advertising or advertising at a falsely high price to make it seem like there are huge sales. Other disqualifying practices include dishonest or scam-like operations.
In addition to the American Gem Society’s primary role, they’ve also founded the AGS laboratory. This is a nonprofit diamond grading laboratory that aims to provide high-quality grading reports that support customer protection.
An AGS laboratory diamond grading report is based on the scientific analysis of gems and offers a consistent and trustworthy assessment of diamond quality.
A diamond grading report is necessary because it verifies the quality of the diamond in question to consumers. It’s relatively easy for a diamond retailer to lie or avoid mentioning certain things to drive a higher price on a particular stone. But, with a grading report, it is clear to the buyer exactly what they’re buying, and they can check prices on similar diamonds from other retailers.
Helping customers and retailers
The American Gem Society helps both customers and jewelers. By enabling you to see and understand what you’re looking at when shopping for diamonds, you can gain increased trust in that jeweler and are more likely to be a return shopper.
At the same time, you know you aren’t being ripped off. With a diamond grading report in hand, it’s easy to check prices on similar diamonds. And, with a little bit of knowledge about diamond quality, you can choose a better diamond at a more affordable price point!
All in all, the AGS is a valuable nonprofit service that helps both retailers and customers.