The American Gem Society Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser or ICGA is a highly reputed credential for jewelry retailers or individual gemologists who wish to perform high-grade appraisals. Gemologist appraisers are highly skilled professionals in the diamond and gemstone industry who can identify the monetary worth and market value of jewelry pieces based on factors such as color, cut, clarity and carat weight. A gemologist must also identify whether a gem is natural or synthetic or whether it has been heat or color treated. The American Gem Society ICGA requires firms and individuals to gain AGS membership prior to entering into the rigorous and complex process of obtaining the ICGA certification
To become an American Gem Society Certified Gemologist Appraiser you must first hold a Graduate Gemologist degree from an accredited gemology school like the Gemological Institute of America or the International School of Gemology. If you represent a firm, you must have practiced for at least two years, be adherent to AGS appraisal standards and be approved as an AGS Accredited Gem Laboratory as well as by the International Admissions Board. You must also become a member of the AGS prior to applying for your AGS ICGA certification.
Once you have gained AGS membership, you will need to submit your application for the ICGA certification and proof of your Graduate Gemologist credentials. You will also need to complete the AGS Way Course, which covers subject matter including ethics, consumer protection and craft knowledge. Once you compete the AGS Way Course, your application will be forwarded to the AGS Admissions Board for review and possible election. Once you or your firm has been elected to proceed, you will need to complete the Jewelers Educational Foundation Course or the Advanced Personal Property Appraisal course. From that point on, you will need to pass annual re-certification exams and keep current with continuing gemologist and jewelry appraisal education.
After successfully being elected by the AGS Admissions Board after the AGS Way Course, you will be certified as a Registered Jeweler. And after successfully completing all requirements for the ICGA, your Graduate Gemologist degree classification will then be upgraded to Certified Gemologist Appraiser or CGA. Once you are AGS certified, you are at liberty to utilize the AGS brand and personal credential to advertise your jewelry appraisal services. The AGS also offers its members marketing programs to enhance their business as well as the AGS brand.
sAlthough high-end sales professionals who work on commission enjoy high paying jobs, other services, such as appraisals, gem faceting and jewelry repair tend to be far less lucrative in terms of compensation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most workers in the jewelry industry earn a median salary of about $35,170. And due to increasing competition for both high-end, moderate and independent jeweler and appraiser positions, the jewelry industry is expected to slightly decline in career demand. An AGS ICGA certification, however, increases an appraiser or jewelry firm’s market competitiveness in gaining higher-caliber clients.
2016 Salary Information for Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers
Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers earned a median annual salary of $38,200 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, jewelers and precious stone and metal workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $27,890, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $50,410, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 37,700 people were employed in the U.S. as jewelers and precious stone and metal workers.