G.G. Degree -- worth it?

Dear Fellow Orchidians,

I joined the group a month or two ago, and I must echo the
sentiments of others in expressing my affections and gratitude to
you all. Thank you so much for being such a warm, welcoming, and
informative community.

Here’s my question. I have been making “cold” jewelry–mostly bead,
textile, and wire, since I was 8 years old, but have been making
very high-end one-of-a-kind pieces using high karat gold wire and
findings and precious to grade AAA semi-precious beads for the last
couple of years. I am taking this one step further by beginning
goldsmithing studies at the Jewelry Arts Institute at the end of
February, and I hope to make the career switch and be doing this
full time within the next year or so. I intend to continue making
high-end one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, and I dream of eventually
opening my own store, although I will continue to seek gallery
representation until that becomes viable. SO, given that lengthy
background, my question is whether you think it is worth the time
and the expense to pursue a G.G. through G.I.A. It is a hefty
investment–nearly $6000–and I am wondering if you have any advice
on whether I should go for it now, wait a while, or chuck the idea
altogether. All tips, tales, and tutelage are most graciously

Thank you so much
Amanda Linn


I am just finishing my time at GIA and can do little but sing
praises for the education that I have received. I am a GG and I will
be finishing my GJ in March. In a matter of months, I went from
being gem illiterate, to having a well rounded basis on which to
build a lifetime of learning and exploration.

When I decided to enroll at GIA, I was only going to take the GJ
class, but my wise old Dad thought that the GG was the cornerstone
forof this industry.(I’ve got no family ties to the trade, so I’m
starting fresh!) I cannot believe how much I learned in such a short
period of time! But where I’ll go from here remains to be seen.

I guess the long and short of it is, if it interests you, go for it.
You’ll holda respected diploma that no one can take away from you.
Knowledge never hurts.

Feel free to contact me offline if youhave any further questions
about the GIA.

Good Luck!

A GG from GIA is absolutely worth the cost, especially if you intend
to continue selling high end product.

I do not have a GG from GIA and have learned a lot (maybe even most)
of what one learns taking the GIA courses…of course it has taken
roughly 30 years to do that! I probably know a lot of stuff that one
will not learn in the GIA courses too. On the other hand, my jewelry
activities have never been my primary means of fiscal enrichment
either. If I had to do it over again, I would have taken the GIA
course or some other program, much earlier on and then I probably
could have learned a WHOLE LOT MORE in the same time I have invested
thus far! When you think about it $6000 is a drop in the bucket in
today’s academic world and it could start you on a lifetime career.
I say, “Just do it!”

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut1

Amanda, there is another option. That is a Graduate in Colored
Stones from the GIA. Same classes as the GG, but without the
Diamond modules. If you intend to do diamonds, then the GG would be
the route to take. As for the cost of the classes, if they are
worth it. You could easily blow $6000 on a couple bad decisions on
stones because you were not educated in stones. The GG will not
make you an expert, but you are a lot further down the road to that
goal having taken the courses. This is assuming that you are taking
the course for the education, not the diploma.


Hi, One comment on GIA degree , the course material exists as a
body of study removed from “real world” conditions . The hard data
about diamonds , gems and ID techniques etc will serve you well ,
but the about the business of gems and jewelry ,
valuation data and etc is not accurate and is rife with errors , my
wife is currently working on her GG and the number of factual errors
in her course work is appauling .

Mark Clodius

I have been following the feedback on GIA’s program for
certification as a GG , and its advantages and applicability to the
jewelry profession.

This is of particular interest to me. I have just completed what I am
told is a comparable program . Graduate of Gemological Science .

This is the one semester program at TIJT, Paris Texas.

http://www.paris.cc.tx.us/tijt/     website

This program was started in 1977. I took it this fall semester.

Colored stone identification ( 450 stones ) and Diamond Grading ( 10
stones ) must be completed for graduation . In addition. final test of
20 more Colored stones and 4 Diamonds to be graded . All tests in
essay format. Final test oral .

For certification, another class, Applied Jewelry Practices, is

This is completed during 1 semester . I had to come back for two
more additional days lab time . This was to complete my 450 CORRECTLY
IDENTIFIED stones. I worked my butt off ! I also received college
credit for a total of 15 credit hrs.

My payment to the school, TIJT, branch of Paris Jr. College, was
approximately $ 3,500.00 . This was tuition, lab fees, room and
board , I spent $ 500.00 in addition for books and tools. Most of this
was for books.

How well is this certification ( GGS ) known or received. ?

As I intend to continue my education in this field what other
recommendation could be made ? Let me thank all of the membership for
their past help and encouragement.

ROBB - Retired Old Baby Boomer

Only my opinion, but I feel that the GG program is the best basic
training program one can get, if you plan to deal in precious
colored stones and/or diamonds. I believe that this is so, whether
you want to work for 

yourself or as an employee in the retail, wholesale, or
manufacturing jewelry business.

I took the Graduate Gemologist and Diamond courses in Residence in
1972, and the courses have been improved a great deal since then. 
I have worked  in retail, wholesale and manufacturing.  I learned
a BUNCH in every job, but the G.I.A. training was always my

Eventually, in 1983, I started my own business in the jewelry
district of L.A. by borrowing money against my home, and I don’t
think I could have done that without the ‘book learning.’

My advice is ‘bite the bullet,’ find the $6,000, and do the

David Barzilay, Lord of the Rings