Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

GIA correspondence course

I was considering taking GIA correspondence courses to get my
Gemologist certification, however when after speaking with them I’m a
little hesitant to do it.

I live in Canada and they said that I would be responsible for any
duty/taxes incurred when they ship me stones for my course
materials. Over the duration of the various courses I could be sent
hundreds of stones. I inquired as to whether they knew what other
Canadian’s experiences were with customs and duty charges and they
didn’t “think” it was a problem but couldn’t guarantee it.

So I was wondering if there was anyone on the Orchid Forum that is
Canadian and has participated in the GIA correspondence courses to
become a Gemologist and what their experience was and what I should
realistically expect?

Jennifer WolfeBliss Jewellery

Hi Jennifer,

I’m currently taking GIA correspondence courses and I live in
Canada. I’m in the final stretches of earning my GG.

The only issue with Duties/Customs is with the Stone Identification
Course and yes, you do have to pay about $40 per stone set just to
receive your stones, even tho it clearly states on the shipping
package that the stones are on loan for educational purposes–I
believe there are 20 sets of stones for the course. I tried combining
stone set shipping and got whacked with a $93 customs fee
recently–they are relentless.

You’ll also have to pay to return your stone sets which can also be
costly as they do not extend the one month loan period for the sets
and shipping time can cut into your time with the stones.

It’s also quite costly to pay duties on the testing equipment needed
for Gem Identification if you buy the equipment via GIA. My
suggestion if you are looking to buy your own equipment is to try
Lacy & Co in Toronto.

But all that aside, I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed taking
the distance courses and I would recommend them. There’s a lot of
info, but it’s put in an easy to understand way. I’m so glad that I
had the chance to take these courses and I look forward to finishing.

Hope this is helpful!

Kind wishes,

Jennifer I think they have upped the stone count now to get your

Somewhere between 500 and 700 I think. That could be some dinero,
but first check to see if there is any duty or import taxes on
educational materials.

I think there is a break on these types of things as long as you
ship them all back. It’s kind of like a carnet for the stones. what
comes in must go out.

The Jewelry CAD Institute.

I would call/write Canadian Customs (whatever department of the
government it is) and ask what, if any, the duty would be for
gemstones being sent to you as part of a college level correspondence
course. The stones are being sent on loan and are returned after that
part of the course.


My goodness, Jennifer, take the CGA course, it is over 30 years in
the teaching, is affiliated with FGA and has serious credibility. I
would wonder why you would not take GIA. 

Are you looking for whate? Sorry, just can not understand why this
would happen, you get a smaller organization with intimate access,
one on one and hands on from the tutors, they teach in residence and
that is less than half of the GIA course in price. Where do you live,
email me off line if you need additional

We teach the CGA course in the U. S. and the reason we do not teach
the GIA course is that they do not allow private schools to teach
their course. But I say, everyone needs competition, and although we
make a small dent in the GIA student population, I feel, our students
and the industry give great credibility and credence to the Canadian

In US, people are still trying to get to know the CGA course but in
Canada, I would say the majority of the certified gemologists are
FCGmA’s, completing the CGA course, residence is in Sacramento,
Toronto and Vancouver and correspodence is world wide.

Happy I was able to save you thousands of dollars for a wonderful
course, if you chose to take advantage of it.

all the best

Dee Huth

Course is available frim Canadian Gemmological Assn. in To or Van.
and maybe Montreal as well as by correspondence.

Hi Jennifer,

I have successfully received refunds from Revenue Canada after
explaining tothem that an item was to be returned to United States.
The receipt for the return postage is very helpful here, along with
the original customs invoice that is normally glued to the parcel.
They normally refund the HST/duty, but retain $10 as their brokerage

I have done this with USA origin repair items on several occasions.


Absolutely, the course is less expensive, highly regarded in the
industry and is also held in residence in Sacramento at the
California Institute of Jewelry Training.

Often times GG’s take the Canadian course or the UK course, which is
much the the Canadian course after they have completed their GG
because it is more theory, crystalography, origin, depth, detail,
however, it is also more difficult. You will love it. All the Best