Frequently Asked Questions

Please take a few minutes to review our Frequently Asked Questions page. This page contains information about the most often asked questions about our course programs. We invite you to contact us for any additional information you may require.

Click on the questions to view the information.

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. In 2017 the ISG became a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Education Organization. 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 any US Government agency?

After a lengthy application process that included a full evaluation of our school, the US Internal Revenue Service designated the International School of Gemology Inc. as a 501(c)3 Non-Profit, Tax Exempt education organization, based on the legitimacy of our program, our organization and our directors. Information on our status as a 501(c)3 non-profit education organization is available on this website.

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 gemstone and jewelry 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.

What is the RGA program?

The Registered Gemologist Appraiser program consists of six (6) courses in Gemology that are designed to provide you with a full education in the study of gemstones and jewelry. There are two (2) courses in jewelry appraisal and evaluating damaged jewelry for salvage and SIU (Special Investigations Unit) investigations for the insurance industry. The RGA program includes a total of eight (8) courses in gemology and appraisal to provide you with a complete education in gemology and jewelry appraisal. These courses are available individually so you can take them when you are ready and study at your own pace. This also allows you to break up the program cost so you don’t have to pay the entire tuition in advance.

How much is tuition to the ISG?

In 2017 the ISG went to a “by-course” program of study that allows students to take our entire Registered Gemologist Appraiser or Registered Gemologist Programs, or simply study one course in gemology. The courses vary in price based on size and depth of the course. You simply choose the next course you need to complete for your intended program, and pay for the program one course at a time. Or you can just take a single course and earn your ISG Certificate of Completion for that single course.

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 offer courses as such low prices?

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.

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. 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 available at This equipment is available at special prices to insure that our ISG Students get professional quality at the lowest possible price. The basic Gem Equipment Package will be everything you need to complete the course.

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. 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 as a separate section available as a course registration. The practicals are taken after all courses in the RGA or RG programs have been completed. To get your practicals you will register for the ISG Practicals as you would other course modules.

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. 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?

With the new “by course” program there is no time limit to complete your program. Each course has a one year registration period so the time you need to complete a full program of courses will be up to you and your schedule.

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.

Please contact the ISG for more information.

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.