Description, verbiage, and accuracy

I have noticed something on the site that must be corrected and that is the use of the term “GIA CERTIFIED”. I have seen it applied to diamonds and used in reference to an IGS staff member’s credentials. It must be made clear that the Gemological Institute of America does not CERTIFY anything. There is NO such thing as a GIA certified diamond, nor is there any such title as a GIA Certified Gemologist. The Gem Trade Laboratory issues diamond and colored stone grading reports and confers the title of Graduate Gemologist on its students. To certify something implies a warranty, guarantee, or promise of quality or authenticity.


I am not saying that this isn’t an issue, but i am having a hard time understanding why this is such a big deal in regards to credentials. GIA Certified Gemologist? Could you maybe elaborate more on this specifically?

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I don’t think that you read my post in its entirety as I outlined the reason it is a “big deal”. There is NO such thing as a GIA Certified Gemologist. The diploma conferred on one who successfully completes the gemology curriculum at GIA is that of Graduate Gemologist. I’m not sure what type of work you may or may not do but wonder if you would respond to a supervisor with “I don’t see why its such a big deal.”.
Brian Hudson GG
Graduate Gemologist (GIA)


Oh, okay. Thanks.

Your concerns about credentials are well taken. I don’t remember using the term GIA Certified with regard to my gemological training, but I might have…I took the GIA gemologist courses in 1996, but I did not take all three workshops necessary for the GG, so I am a GIA trained gemologist or maybe you would say "John H Doe, Gemologist (GIA, 1996). Or “GIA Certificated Gemologist”.

In my case, life got in the way of my finishing the GG and later I did a lot of reading of Hanneman’s work, which wasn’t a part of the GIA training at the time, and also read Peter Read’s work and the gem ID parts of the 5th edition of Webster’s Gems: Their Sources, Descriptions and Identification…which was edited by Read. That enlarged my knowledge to where I felt that I didn’t need the further education that the GG would provide…it would have been nice window dressing, but, as just a practicing gemcutter, I didn’t need the credential for appraising or working in a retail jewelry establishment. My weak area is pearls, which I didn’t study at all, but perhaps I’ll get some training in that now that friends are bringing me pearls to look at.

As far as gemology training, you can never finish that, but I always point people to Matlins’ book for starters and then to Hanneman’s Affordable Gemology because there is so much in there that wasn’t covered in my education, especially the use of SG and loupe or microscope observations as a start to gem ID as opposed to just pulling out the old refractometer, which is convenient, but limited. Then there is Hodgkinson’s “visual optics,” which is so easy and requires no instruments beyond a slit-covered flashlight if you learn how to identify the various “rainbows” in a gem. IDK what parts of Hanneman’s stuff is now part of the GIA courses…maybe you or someone else could talk about that here. -royjohn

  1. We will edit Barbara Smigel’s bio to read “GIA Graduate Gemologist.”
  2. Can you provide links to any instances where the IGS has used the term “GIA-certified diamond”? We are well-aware that some people use the term “certification” and “grading report” interchangeably, but we advise gemologists to use the term “grading report”.
    IGS Admin

Roy’s experience is a good example and I can attest to similar circumstances about not completing my GG. (Still contemplating on pursuing it to completion though…) So, I commend you and your diligence in achieving the GG, its definitely not a pedestrian effort. Providing good feedback to the usage of “certified” here in the community, is much appreciated as well.

This is definitely not the first time “certification” has been discussed (searched the topic archive) so I do not want to beleaguer the perspectives of anyone’s view or lambast previous conversations.

However, @DanielB66512 has a good question regarding the relevance to “certify”.

The diploma for my GIA AJP, constitutes that I have “successfully met the requirements in the program of study … Issued via the Board of Governors, upon recommendation of the faculty, with all rights and privileges belonging thereto.” Does that not qualify as a level of certification? Perhaps or perhaps not.

I am sure your GG diploma has similar context.

The Jewelry / Gemology industry does not have an international or regional peer-reviewed board to gauge the accreditation of an educational curriculum being offered. Therefore, the GIA, GEM-A, AIGS, AGS, IGS, and other entities are placed in a realm of uncertainty and potential litigation quagmire.

After constructing a specialized laboratory in my professional career, enduring nearly three years of documentation and process control development to earn an accreditation seal, I understand the necessity to strike certain words, as not being applicable, from the Laboratory’s Bylaws.

But from the school’s curriculum, I am not sure such restrictions are applicable.


I like the Oxford Languages definition of CERTIFIED : " officially recognized as [possessing] certain qualifications or meeting certain standards". As the person has been awarded a course completion from GIA; that person has a GIA certification. They are GIA certified…

The grading report itself is ‘certified’ to be legit and now the term is just being used loosely. It’s easier to say GIA Certified Diamond, rather than GIA Certified Diamond Grading Report—as with the
AGS Certified Grading Report., an EGL Certified grading report.
Broken down…"Is it a GIA, AGS or EGL Certified diamond?

Regarding the designation ‘Certified Gemologist’, that’s a title used by AGS.
A CG is awarded to a GG who successfully passes the annual AGS Recertification Exam and pays the annual dues to retain that designation.


While the dictionary has a definition, the world of litigation has the power of interpretation.

I had to take a little bit of time to dive into this. I am not outside the purview of these undesired terms. The GIA courses come with a set of bylaws, where the students and graduates are obligated to adhere in performing their tasks as a GG, GD, GP, and/or AJP during and after completing the coursework. This alone has some leverage to keep integrity attached to the namesake and provide actionable consequences for those who are or become GIA alumni.

@JCBellGG has pointed out something I had forgotten about… higher levels of certification are available for members of the AGS, where the gemologist pays annual dues and re-certifies their knowledge base. The same applies to Jewelers and other members of the industry looking for an added layer of confidence for their customers. Its a good thing. Expensive… but a good thing, if you need that competitive edge.

With all of my jabbering dialog said… I don’t have issue with what @BrianH51546 initially posted. I just have questions as to why is it demanded that “Certified” or “certification” not be allowed to use after earning the title GIA AJP or GG or GD…etc.

Just seems there isn’t a definitive answer to… “why”

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GIA doesn’t have an issue with the jewelry industry using the term GIA Certified Diamond



Since the GIA itself refrains from using the term “certified” for diamonds it has examined, the IGS would recommend that gemologists refrain from using that term to describe diamonds graded by the GIA. Of course, that is our recommendation only, even if the GIA doesn’t insist that the jewelry industry follow its usage. (Curious if the GIA’s relaxed approach also extends to the gemological world as distinct from the jewelry world). The FTC issued guidelines in 2014 that recommend using the term “grade report” instead of “certificate.” The reasoning is to avoid implying that a diamond evaluation is based on empirical facts rather than opinion. (Presumably, a “report” is a softer term than a “certificate.”) However, the FTC recommendation is still just a recommendation.