Study Time

4 - 6 months


Gem-A Level 4 in Gemmology

Gemmology Foundation

Our Gemmology Foundation course is ideal for those keen to get the best start in their gemstone education. Whether you want to further your career in the trade or simply learn about gemstones, this course is for you. Once completed you will be able to identify, test and handle a wide variety of gemstones. Studying the Foundation is essential for those who want to go on to study our Gemmology Diploma and gain FGA status — symbols of excellence.


What constitutes a gemstone, how to identify common gem materials confidently, and the properties and uses of certain gem materials

To apply knowledge of gemstone properties to their proper care and commercial use, including gemstone fashioning and use in jewellery
To explain the value and price factors of gemstones
To handle rough, cut and set gem materials, such as diamond, sapphire, ruby and emerald, as well as organics and a range of treated and imitation gem materials
How to use basic gemmological equipment and report accurately on the various observations and results of tests conducted on gemmological specimens
The origin and formation of gemstones and the various stages of the gemstone pipeline
How to compare and contrast features and properties of gem materials, treatments and synthetics to distinguish between gemstones

Fully illustrated Foundation course notes*

Practical Workbook

Foundation practical workbook

Gem set

Foundation stone set containing rough and cut specimens.

Refractometer & Light Source

All on-site and ODL students also receive a refractometer and light source

Portable GemKit

Portable instrument kit, including 10× lens, tweezers, stone cloth, spectroscope, dichroscope, flexi light, flat light, folding polariscope, conoscope, Chelsea Colour Filter and kit bag

* Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, Japanese and French course notes are also available to purchase. Contact the Education department ( for prices.

> Assessed coursework (Four online assessments) worth 10% of final grade
> Written examination (Foundation theory paper) worth 45% of final grade
> Written examination (Foundation practical paper) worth 45% of final grade
> Practical endorsement (Foundation lab class for ODL students) — completion essential

On-site and ODL language requirements: English qualification, e.g. IELTS (Level 7) or TOEFL (score of 95-120).

All ODL Gemmology Foundation students need to attend a three-day Gemmology Foundation lab class. Students can attend a lab class in the UK, USA or Japan, or may arrange a class with a GAPP centre of their choice.

All Foundation ODL students are provided with a refractometer and light source, in addition to the standard study stones and portable instrument kit at the start of their course. This enables students to familiarize themselves with the instruments at home, and complete some of the practical elements with the help of their distance tutor.

Observe and use the 10× lens and correct lighting for looking at gem materials
Use the microscope
Use the refractometer for faceted materials
Use the handheld spectroscope correctly and interpret results from the equipment used
Use a range of supporting equipment such as the polariscope, dichroscope, Chelsea Colour Filter or UV light
Use the specific gravity of a material to estimate weight for mounted gem materials.
The course will also cover a review of the requirements for the practical aspects of the Foundation practical examination.

I enjoyed every bit of it. I studied it for mainly pleasure and also in the hope I could in some way be involved in the industry… It was certainly challenging but I loved it

Dayanthi Ratnayake (Colombo, Sri Lanka), Gemmology Foundation ODL student

The tutors are all passionate, knowledgeable and friendly. They are keen to help and make study enjoyable. The course materials and guides are top notch and I will certainly be progressing in my studies here — I’ve already seen several courses I’m keen to do.

Lara de-Leuw (Derby, England), Gemmology Foundation ODL student

The Foundation lab class is superb; it cements together the practical elements of the Foundation in preparation for the exam.”

Jason Kercher (Norwich, England), Gemmology Foundation ODL student

Gemmology Diploma, leading to eligibility for FGA status 
Diamond Diploma, leading to eligibility for DGA status
BSc in Gemmology & Jewellery Studies (requires successful completion of Gemmology Foundation, Gemmology Diploma and Diamond Diploma)
Coloured Stones Grading Course

You can enquire about one of our courses by using the form below. Simply select the course you'd like to attend, fill in your details and click submit. A member of our Education Department will review your form before contacting you about your enquiry.

Alternatively, you can download a course application form from our Student Resources section. Once you've completed this you can email this to us at or post it to: Education Department, 21 Ely Place, London, EC1N 6TD.

If you have any other questions you can e-mail us at or call us on +(44) 0207 404 3334.





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