Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

We welcome you to review our Frequently Asked Questions section to get the full story about our world-class study of gemology and jewelry appraisal. Review the information, and then let us know if you have any additional questions or information you require.

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, 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 four (4) 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. There are two additional courses in Watches and Pearls. 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. 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 $1500.00 to complete the full RGA program.

How much is the total tuition to the ISG?

Our package programs are complete including courses, practicals, and exams. The full ISG Registered Gemologist Program Package is $1,595.00. The ISG Registered Gemologist Appraiser Program Package is U$2995.00. These are complete programs with all program courses, exams, and reference books. There are restrictions on which international countries we can service, contact us for details.

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.

Can I take the RGA Program by Individual Courses?

Effective November 27, 2023 we have ended our Individual Courses program for new students. The rising cost of administering the program has created a situation where we can only offer the full program packages at our low tuition rates. This is subject to change in the future.

I learn better in a classroom. Do you have classroom based education programs.

Yes, we recently established our own ISG Classroom here in San Antonio. We currently offer 3 day hands-on classes in Diamond Grading, Colored Gemstone Identification, and Created and Treated Gemstones. More are coming in the future.

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. There is nothing more to purchase.

Do you have gemological equipment for sale?

We do offer a line of professional quality gemological equipment when supplies are available. This equipment is available at special prices to ensure 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 programs 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.

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 9 months for the full RGA program, 6 months for the RG. 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. However, international students should be aware of any import fees or duties to receive the practical sets. Import and customs fees are the responsibility of the student. Security deposits may be required in some countries. Contact us for any questions.

Do international students pay more for the program because of the practicals?

Yes, due to the higher cost of international shipping we must charge a slightly higher tuition price for international students. However, we are once again able to work with international students as the Covid-19 pandemic is finally over.

Is there a time limit to finish the courses?

The ISG RGA programs have a 12 month registration period, the RG 6 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 based on availability.

Do I get a diploma for completing the individual courses?

Yes. You get a Certificate of Completion for the individual courses, and your Diploma for completing the RGA or RG Programs.

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.


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