Future of Jewelry Industry Education

Editorial: The Future of Jewelry Industry Education

Properly trained jewelry appraisers are in high demand

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that major changes are happening in the jewelry and gemstone industries. One of the most profound is the significant decrease in the need for retail jewelry stores to employ and equip their own in-house gemologists. With the growing availability of major lab reports, the required knowledge of identifying and grading diamonds and gemstones has been taken out of the hands of professional jewelers and transferred to the major labs.

Simply stated: Major lab reports have replaced the need for in-house gemologists at all levels and categories of the industry.

It is ironic that the GIA dominance in the grading report market has grossly undermined the need for anyone to pay the extremely high tuition to earn a GIA Graduate Gemologist. Why should any jewelry store pay the money to hire a GIA GG, when they can have the GIA itself do the grading and save the cost of staffing? The need for any in-house gemologist has significantly decreased over the past 10 years.

It is for this reason that many regional gemology schools have faltered, with some closing their doors entirely.  The need for trained gemologists, who are hired only for the purpose of identification and grading, has waned to the point of extinction.

Here is the unexpected problem with all of this: The industry now relies on the major lab reports for their gemstone identification and grading. However, those same lab reports are worthless pieces of paper when questions are raised, and litigation ensues, when those labs make heinous errors and walk away from the situation.

When the caca hits the fan with major lab errors, the entire situation is left in the hands of the jeweler or gemstone dealer since the labs will run for the hills. This creates the scenario I have seen over and over:

  1. A jewelry store or gem dealer relies on a major lab report to sell, not getting any real education themselves since they don’t need it anymore.
  2. The major labs make errors, lots of them. When these errors are exposed, it is the retail jewelers or gem dealers who are forced to take legal responsibility for the lab error.
  3. The retail jeweler or gem dealer cannot turn to the labs for help, since the labs do not support or defend their reports.=
  4. The retail jeweler or gem dealer has no one on staff to help deal with the situation.

What is a jeweler or gem dealer to do?

The answer is finding a qualified jewelry appraiser.

Let’s be very clear: A GIA Graduate Gemologist, FGA of the Gem-A, or even an RG of the IIJA…is not a jewelry appraiser. They are gemologists. None of these titles have any training in the legal standards and requirements of jewelry appraisal. By legal I do not mean the need for licensing, even though we really need that. By legal I mean the training to evaluate, format and structure a legally binding appraisal document that can be used in a court of law.

The need for qualified jewelry appraisers is extreme. As more and more stores abdicate their professional knowledge responsibilities over to the major labs, more and more cases of litigation are surfacing due to the ubiquitous number of legal cases that are  being filed as a result of lab errors.  Qualified jewelry appraisers are needed in these cases and only a proper education in jewelry appraisal will meet the need of the clients, jewelers and law firms.

The question is, however, since places like the GIA and Gem-A do not teach appraisal, where does one go to get properly educated, tested and supported as a jewelry appraiser.

In the current market there are only two viable choices: The Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal and the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers.

National Association of Jewelry Appraisers

The NAJA was started by highly qualified jewelry appraisers for the purpose of bringing high standards and ethics to the jewelry appraisal industry. The ongoing education and support that the NAJA provides to its members is second to none in the industry.  The NAJA sets the world standard for professional jewelry appraisal education and support.

No one in the jewelry appraisal industry should try to operate without the ongoing training and support of the NAJA.

Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal

As a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Education Organization established by members of the Property and Casualty Insurance industry, the IIJA is the only gemology/appraisal school in the world. Our courses were developed and written by a team of insurance underwriters, adjusters and litigation managers with many decades of experience in jewelry insurance.

Our IIJA Registered Gemologist Appraiser title requires a 2 year recertification, (just like an insurance license) and comes with gemological and legal support for all RGA title holders, and is accepted by the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers.

A winning combination

Together, earning the IIJA RGA title and your membership in the NAJA, jewelry appraisers can get the world-standard education and support that is required in the jewelry and gemstone industries, both now and in the future.

Diamond Council of America

I talk to many people who want a proper education for employment in the industry, but do not want to go into appraisal. Most are looking to get into sales with a jewelry company, or perhaps establish their own jewelry business.

For this, you need the education programs of the Diamond Council of America. If you are establishing a jewelry or gemstone store or wanting to get employment in the jewelry industry, you don’t need a gemology diploma…you need the sales training and product knowledge of the DCA.

Diamond Council of America programs are the finest professional jewelry education programs in the world. Widely recognized, highly respected and the most sought after education degree for jewelry sales professionals.

If you want a high-paying job in the jewelry sales industry, and you want to be in high demand by jewelry company employers, you need the DCA training.

How important is DCA training to everyone? The IIJA offers a partial scholarship to all of our IIJA students and graduates to get DCA training. When we are willing to pay for part of your DCA training, you know it has to be the finest in the world.

The Future is Here

The above is the future of education in the jewelry industry. The days of spending tens of thousands of dollars for a GIA seal on a diploma are over. Jewelry stores already have GIA graded diamonds in their stores, and don’t need to pay the high salaries of GIA graduates when GIA Grading Reports are cheaper and easier to get.

If you want quality education and support that will establish your professional standing in the industry, click any or all of the icons below:



Robert James FGA, GG
President, Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal
Property and Casualty Adjuster, License #TDI1300433
Member: National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters

Registration Deadline Fast Approaching! Don’t miss this opportunity. 

The Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal Inc. is designated by the IRS as a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Charity committed to providing professional quality education and support to the industry. All donations to the IIJA are tax deductible under the IRS designation.

We want to thank those who have donated and continue to donate on a monthly basis to help support this effort.