Student Resources

On this page you’ll find useful resources to help you get the most out of your studies with Gem-A. Can’t find what you’re looking for?


Student Resources

If you’re currently studying at Gem-A, here is some additional information that will help support your learning, including our prospectus, exam information, further study, and student services.

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Further study

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Stone Library

Exams & lab classes

Gem-A’s examinations and lab classes are fundamental elements of your learning and development, helping you to put your learning into practice and take your skills to the next level.


Learn about examination dates, Gem-A qualifications, and the exam process and structure, or download exam forms and further information.

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Lab classes

All ODL students must complete a practical lab class at Gem-A’s headquarters or through one of our international Gem-A Approved Practical Providers (GAPPs).

Frequently Asked Questions

As part of your student membership, you will have access to two online gemmology publications that are released quarterly: The Journal of Gemmology and Gems&Jewellery, as well as being eligible for a discount in the Gem-A Instruments shop. You will also have access to a special student ticket price for networking events such as the annual Gem-A conference. Students can also apply for a Totum Pro discount card (for UK discounts).

Gem-A can consider additional support for individuals who are disabled, have a learning difficulty or long-term medical condition. If this applies to you, please contact our Student Support Officer at to find out more.

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 them when using the RI liquid at the London teaching center.

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 for further advice or for a copy of the Material Data Sheet.

For each course, the recommended self-study hours per week, including time for the reading of the course notes, completing any homework (onsite studies only), and end-of-block reviews and online assessments, are:

Gemmology Foundation

  • Evening: 6 to 8 hours
  • Daytime: 4 to 6 hours
  • ODL: 6 to 8 hours
  • ODL Fast track: 10 to 12 hours

Gemmology Diploma

  • Evening: 8 to 10 hours
  • Daytime: 6 to 8 hours
  • ODL: 10 to 12 hours

Diamond Diploma

  • Evening: 10 to 12 hours
  • Daytime: 8 to 10 hours
  • ODL: 8 to 10 hours

Course duration depends on the course, method of study, and location. Most on-site courses at Gem-A London are approximately 4 months. The standard-length distance learning courses are 9 months, although there is a 6-month fast-track option only for the online Foundation course for students with prior relevant experience. Contact the education team for more information, or contact your chosen teaching center directly for their schedules.

Non-UK residents wishing to study on one of our on-site courses may require a Standard Visitor Visa (allowing short-term study for up to 6 months) to study in the UK. To apply for a visa or for more information, please contact UK Visas and Immigration. Visit this link if you are unsure if you will require a visa to study a Gem-A course. Please note that Gem-A does not sponsor Student Visas for courses over 6 months.

Gem-A courses and qualifications are both high-level and officially accredited in the UK – Gem-A is an awarding body. This is one reason our qualifications are so highly regarded worldwide. All our courses emphasise the significant 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 helps you gain a deeper understanding of your decision-making processes in practical gemmology.

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 for the Foundation Certificate in Gemmology examination.

You can make payment by bank transfer, credit, or debit card (MasterCard or Visa only), or you can also join our instalment scheme and pay by Direct Debit (UK) or PayPal (Non–UK). Please note that you should apply for your course first, and then a member of the education team will contact you about payment.

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.

Loan Stone Library

Download Application Forms for UK/USA Residents

Here at Gem-A we have a fascinating library of stones available for loan to those who are studying on our ODL and London on-site Foundation and Diploma in Gemmology courses. 

For a fee, London and ODL gemmology students living in the UK or the USA are eligible to join our Stone Library Loan Scheme, which allows you to borrow a diverse sample of stone sets, to aid you in your practical learning.

The library has been designed to enhance a student’s experience in handling gems and to provide a clear insight into features to look for in the everyday handling of commercial cut and rough stones.

Depending at what stage you have reached in your course, we will indicate which stone sets are most valuable for you to look at. Each set of stones contains between ten and twenty specimens, which provide relevant and clearly identifiable features and characteristics. Examples of sets available include those for general testing, observation using a 10x loupe, spectrum stones, and crystalline and organic materials with identifiable features.


Sets are available to ODL students studying within the UK or the USA, and students at Gem-A London. All sets are either sent using a recorded postal service, or collected from Gem-A London, so please be aware that you will need to sign for the stones upon receipt, and return them in a similar way. 

After we have received your application form and payment, you will be able to request your first set. ODL students may apply to borrow up to 8 sets, and fees will apply accordingly. 

If you are a London on-site student you can apply to the library and collect the sets in class, fees will apply accordingly. 

All stone sets are issued for 2 weeks and you will be given a specific return date. 

Contact the education department at for further information.

For students who reside in the USA and wish to borrow stones, please contact Cara Williams at