Copyright 2012 My Private Jeweler, Inc.
For thousands of years, both the diamond and precious gemstone industries functioned with loose and variable standards for grading to establish quality and value. Those loose standards also varied from one part of the world to the next, and the net result was that non-gemstone experts were easily confused or deceived into purchases that were not as represented.
Gemological Institute of America
In 1931 Robert M. Shipley, a retired jeweler, formed the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), a US-based non-profit entity to establish international gemstone standards and to do authoritative industry research and to provide education services in the gemology and jewelry arts. Over the last 80+ years, GIA has established itself as the world’s foremost independent international authoritative source of diamond and gemstone knowledge and industry information.
GIA maintains worldwide facilities in 14 countries with 12 educational campuses, 7 laboratories and 4 research centers. The campuses are dedicated to offering a wide-ranging curriculum in virtually all aspects of gemology, and their graduate certifications are widely accepted as evidence of competence in the jewelry trades.
As noted elsewhere on this website, the GIA developed the worldwide grading scale for evaluating diamond quality. While it is superficially referred to as the Four C’s, it goes far beyond just naming carat, color, clarity and cut as being of importance, but also clearly establishes standards for each of these four categories. The net result of the GIA’s establishment of international standards and extensive industry knowledge has been greater market credibility, relative ease of comparing different grades versus different price points, and higher levels of integrity within both the diamond and gemstone industries.
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