The Gemmological Association of Great Britain, or Gem-A, is the world’s longest established provider of gem and jewellery education. Our Gemmology Diploma evolved from the first gem course proposed for the UK jewellery trade in 1908, and our prestigious Gemmology and Diamonds Diplomas — taught in seven different languages and 26 countries around the world — are recognised throughout the world.
Gem-A forms an international community of gem professionals and enthusiasts. We serve the interests of the gem and jewellery industries through the high standards of education on our courses and our support for global gemmological research. We also offer membership opportunities, the chance to buy gemmological instruments, a number of events and conferences throughout the year, as well as two internationally distributed publications, The Journal of Gemmology and Gems&Jewellery.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG) was created to represent the interests of jewellers for a new industrial age. This helped protect them from potential harm in the market place, and also allowed jewellers to educate each other about developments in their trade. In 1908 they decided that the role of the jewellery association was more than simply representation and information, and set-up the NAG Education Committee to establish gemmological qualifications for the UK jewellery trade.
In 1908, Samuel Barnett, a jeweller from Peterborough, proposed that the NAG set up teaching courses and examinations in the study of gemstones at the NAG’s annual conference. The resolution was adopted and started the action that, as Basil Anderson observed many years later, "marked the beginning of organised gemmology, not only in this country, but in the whole world."
The NAG inaugurated the Gemmological Association as a distinct branch of the NAG in 1931, as the study of gemmology grew in popularity. This gave the Gemmological Association independence in the provision of education, research and information, and also meant their diploma graduates could be elected to the Fellowship of the Gemmological Association.
Interest in gemstones and diamonds grew so much in the next 20 years that the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, as we've been known since 1937, began making connections with other Associations around the world who wanted to teach our renowned Gemmology Diploma. By 1947, although still sharing resources with the NAG, our growth allowed us to take more control of our own interests, which started with the release of the first ever The Journal of Gemmology
Throughout the next 60 years we continued to nurture our links with other gemmological Associations, including the US and North America, Myanmar, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. As our international reach expanded, so did our need for internal growth. Breaking away from the NAG in the mid-90s, we formed relationships with the Gem Testing Laboratory of Great Britain before becoming a UK Education Charity and adopting the name Gem-A in the late 2000s.
Today, Gem-A continues to build upon the deeds of Samuel Barnett by offering a first-class education in gemmology, while our membership services, events and publications continue to serve a growing network of gem enthusiasts and jewellery professionals around the world. You can learn more about Gem-A's history on our history page.
We provide a number of different services for gemmologists, jewellers and gem enthusiasts; from educational courses and membership services, to instruments, books, publications and events.
EDUCATIONStudents can study on-site at our London headquarters or online using our distance learning option. We offer a range of courses, from one day workshops to our prestigious and globally recognised Gemmology and Diamond Diplomas. On successful completion of your Diploma, graduates can apply to become a Fellowship or Diamond member of the association. Fellows of the Gemmological Association (FGA) and Diamond members of the Gemmological Association (DGA) can use these post-nominal terms that are internationally recognised as symbols of excellence in the trade.
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