Frequently Asked Questions
WHEN SHOULD I ENROL ON MY COURSE?
To guarantee a place on a course, we suggest that you enrol in June/July for a course starting in the autumn, and October/November for one starting in January. Courses are filled on a ‘first come first served' basis. If a course becomes fully subscribed you can be placed on a waiting list and we shall contact you if and when a place becomes available.
WHAT ARE THE PREREQUISITES FOR MY ENTRY ONTO A GEM-A COURSE?
No prior qualifications are necessary for enrolment on the Foundation Certificate in Gemmology course. To enrol onto the Gemmology Diploma course, you must first have completed the Foundation Certificate in Gemmology course.
No prior qualifications are necessary for enrolment into the Diamond Diploma or Diamond Grading & Identification course.
If English is not your first language, an English language qualification is required for entry on both the London and Online Distance Learning (ODL) courses. Accepted English qualifications include IELTS Academic (level 7) or TOEFL (score 95 – 120), please see our Terms & Conditions for further details. For entry requirements to one of Gem-A’s Accredited Teaching Centre (ATC) courses, please contact the ATC concerned.
ARE THERE ANY SCHOLARSHIPS OR CONCESSIONARY RATES FOR MY COURSE AND EXAM FEES?
We have no concessionary rates. But we do offer a student instalment payment plan. Please contact the Education Department on email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Two Gem-A Diamond Grading and Identification courses and exam scholarships are given annually for entrants to the Goldsmiths’ Crafts and Design Council’s awards. An entry form for the Award is available from their website http://www.craftanddesigncouncil.org.uk/.
CAN I GET A REFUND IF I AM UNABLE TO ATTEND MY COURSE?
Cancellations received more than two weeks prior to the start of the course incur a minimum cancellation fee of £150 or 10% of the course fee, whichever is greater. Within two weeks prior to the course start date, a 50% cancellation fee is applied. We regret that for cancellations received within five days of the commencement of the course, or at any subsequent time, no refund can be given.
DO I HAVE TO BE A GEM-A MEMBER TO ENROL ON MY COURSE?
You do not need to be a member in order to join a course. However, we welcome anyone who has a love of gemstones to become a member at any time. Your annual membership subscription helps Gem-A to continue its services, events and development programme. Click here for full details of the benefits of membership. As a member, once you have achieved your Gemmology Diploma or Diamond Diploma you will be transferred to the higher membership status of Fellowship (FGA) or Diamond membership (DGA).
HOW DO I PAY FOR A COURSE?
You can make payment by bank transfer, credit or debit card (MasterCard or Visa only), or a cheque or bank draft drawn on a British bank. You could also join our instalment scheme and pay by Direct Debit (UK) or PayPal (Non–UK).
DO I HAVE TO STUDY THE GEMMOLOGY DIPLOMA BEFORE TAKING THE DIAMOND DIPLOMA?
You can study these two Diplomas in either order. However, to sit the Gemmology Diploma or Diploma Practical Certificate exam, you need first to qualify in the Foundation Certificate in Gemmology examination.
WHAT IS THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE GEMMOLOGY AND DIAMOND COURSE?
The Gemmology Diploma covers the identification of important gem and ornamental materials and the detection of treatments, synthetics and imitations for an extensive range of gemstones including diamond; the Diamond Diploma covers diamonds and its simulants only and considers diamond types, treatments and grading in detail. The Diamond Practical Certificate course is principally concerned with practical diamond grading, plus the basic description of rough stones. There is no practical diamond grading in the Gemmology Practical Certificate which covers identification and detection of a range of commercial gem and ornamental stones.
WHAT ARE THE CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AFTER COMPLETING THE COURSE?
The Gem-A Diplomas are internationally recognised as the highest status gemmology qualifications and as such can greatly help your career in the jewellery or gem industries, and related professions such as auctioneering, valuations, appraisals and laboratory work.
WILL A GEM-A DIPLOMA QUALIFY ME TO ISSUE GEM TESTING OR DIAMOND GRADING CERTIFICATES?
There are no internationally recognised gemmological laboratory qualifications. Most professional gem laboratories around the world employ Gem-A graduates, but our qualifications are only part of the requirements. Professional testing and grading require considerable experience plus an understanding of some advanced laboratory techniques that are not dealt with in our Diploma courses.
HOW DO THE GEM-A COURSES AND QUALIFICATIONS DIFFER FROM THOSE OF THE OTHER GEMMOLOGY ORGANISATIONS?
Gem-A courses and qualifications are both high-level and officially accredited in the UK – Gem-A is an awarding body in its own right. This is one reason why our qualifications are so highly regarded worldwide. All of our courses emphasise the great importance of rapid, self-reliant observational and practical ability, using a thorough knowledge and understanding of gemmological principles. Gem-A courses also foster the ability to choose appropriate testing methods based on intelligent observation for practical decision making. The theory part of Diploma courses help you to gain a deeper understanding of your decision-making processes in practical gemmology.
WHAT CAN I STUDY ON COMPLETING MY DIPLOMA?
ARE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS TRADE RECOGNISED?
The possession of FGA membership has been recognised in the trade for many decades. The Gemmology Diploma was requested by the trade in 1908 to meet its ever more complex needs at a time when synthetic gems were becoming a greater commercial problem. Now this prestigious qualification, as well as DGA membership, is recognised worldwide and is becoming ever more sought after in the Far East and elsewhere as the world gem education benchmark: the necessary practical standard entry into high-level career paths and a higher education.
WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDED SELF-STUDY HOURS FOR THE COURSES?
For each course the recommended self-study hours per week (including time for projects and online assessments) are:
Evening: 6 to 8 hours
Daytime: 4 to 6 hours
ODL: 6 to 8 hours
ODL Fast track: 10 to 12 hours
Evening: 8 to 10 hours
Daytime: 6 to 8 hours
ODL: 10 to 12 hours
Evening:10 to 12 hours
Daytime: 8 to 10 hours
ODL: 8 to 10 hours
DO I NEED TO TAKE ANY PRECAUTIONS WHEN USING EQUIPMENT?
Use of RI Liquid
Students will be using refractive index (RI) liquid in their practical gem testing sessions or lab classes when using a refractometer. RI liquid is commonly used in gemmology when using a refractometer. The Gem-A course extensively covers the appropriate use of refractometers and therefore, to successfully complete the Gemmology Diploma, you will be required to use the RI fluid. In a classroom environment the Gem-A tutors will provide you with appropriate information regarding the RI liquid and you will be taught the recommended handling procedures. Only a tiny drop of RI liquid is used in testing and the cap on the bottle is always replaced. It is your responsibility to ensure that you appropriately follow the instructions and information provided by your tutor on the use of the RI liquid. Gloves will be provided, if you require, when using the RI liquid at the London teaching centre.
RI liquid contains diiodomethane and you may need to exercise precautions if you are pregnant, if you have certain medical conditions, and if you have sensitivity to, or are allergic to, this chemical. Again, your tutors will provide the required information on handling procedures. Please inform your tutors, so that they are aware of your needs. If you are unsure, contact your doctor for advice. If you are pregnant please consider that you may also be sensitive to the smell, which may make you nauseous.
If you are unsure about using RI liquid or if your doctor has advised against using it, please contact email@example.com for further advice or for a copy of the Material Data Sheet.