Gemological Institute of America

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Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
Gemological Institute of America logo.svg
Type Private
Academic staff
21 Gemology & 9 Jewelry Arts Instructors
Location, ,
United States
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The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is a nonprofit institute based in Carlsbad, California. It is dedicated to research and education in the field of gemology and the jewelry arts. [1] Founded in 1931, GIA's mission is to protect buyers and sellers of gemstones by setting and maintaining the standards used to evaluate gemstone quality. The institute does so through research, gem identification and diamond grading services and a variety of educational programs. Through its library and subject experts, GIA acts as a resource of gem and jewelry information for the trade, the public and media outlets. [2]


In 1953 the GIA developed its International Diamond Grading System and the "four Cs" (cut, clarity, color, and carat weight) as a standard to compare and evaluate the quality of diamonds. [2]

Today,[ when? ] the institute is headquartered in Carlsbad, California and operates in 13 countries, with 11 campuses, 9 laboratories and 4 research centers.


The story of the GIA begins in the 1920s with Robert M. Shipley. Shipley had been enjoying a successful career as a jeweler, but was coming to realize the unfortunate state of the gem and jewelry industry: a typical jeweler in the US, himself included, had a lack of expertise in jewelry and precious stones.

After traveling to Europe and completing the Great Britain National Association of Goldsmiths gemological correspondence course, Shipley returned to Los Angeles. There, he launched his own preliminary course in gemology on September 16, 1930, to train and certify jewelers. The jewelers he certified would eventually form a national guild of jewelers. [3]

The first GIA gemological laboratory was established in Los Angeles in 1931. Shortly thereafter, the institute introduced the "Certified Gemologist" professional designation. [4]

In 2005 a bribery allegation against GIA lab workers raised questions on the integrity of diamond grading labs. A dealer claimed of fraud involving its lab workers on grading of two diamonds. These two diamonds had a discrepancy in its grading and an independent testing following the allegation. The dealer alleged that lab workers familiar with circumstances were involved. [5] This led to an internal probe being initiated at the GIA, which ran for four months. The probe unearthed Midtown lab workers' contact with clients, an act which is prohibited by GIA code of ethics. The fraudulent ratings and GIA code of ethics violations were acknowledged by then chairman of the GIA, Ralph Destino. The internal probe ended in October 2005, resulting in the firing of four lab workers and the head of the laboratory.

Internal investigation was also initiated due to a lawsuit filed in April 2005 by Max Pincione, a jewelry dealer and former head of retail operations at the jeweler Harry Winston. The lawsuit was filed against Vivid Collection LLC, Moty Spector, Ali Khazeneh and the GIA alleging that Vivid made payments to the GIA to upgrade the quality of the diamonds submitted for grading [6] which he further sold to the members of Saudi Royal family. On discovering the fraud the members of Saudi Royal family demanded their money back and refused to do any further business with Pincione. [7]


GIA is engaged in research to advance the science of gemology. Historically, research has focused on developing methods and technologies to identify and characterize gems. This research has advanced in the ability to differentiate gems and identify simulants, particularly diamond simulants. GIA was also responsible for the first modern diamond grading reports, where it introduced grading methodologies for diamond color and diamond clarity.

Current research at gemological laboratories concerns the development of improved detection techniques for treated and synthetic diamonds, as well as for treated sapphires, rubies and pearls.

Laboratory services

The GIA Laboratory provides a variety of gem grading and identification reports for diamonds over .15 carats. [8] Diamond grading reports for unmounted natural and laboratory grown diamonds determine their key characteristics: color, clarity, cut and carat weight. GIA issues several types of reports for natural diamonds, the most popular for diamonds over 1 carat being the Diamond Grading Report. A briefer and less expensive version, called a Diamond Dossier, is often used for diamonds under 1 carat. While both reports contain a number of measurements, including dimensions, proportions, carat weight, color, and clarity, the Diamond Grading Report also includes a diamond plot (a graphic representation of the position and type of inclusions present in the diamond). Diamond reports from GIA (as well as other, for-profit sources) are now demanded by most consumers purchasing diamonds over a certain size, typically for over 0.5 carat (100 mg), and almost always for over 1.0 carat (200 mg), and are considered an important tool in guaranteeing that a diamond is accurately represented to a potential buyer.

GIA colored stone identification reports may include a comment about any treatments detected and an opinion of country of origin for ruby, sapphire, emerald and tourmaline. Pearl reports specify the weight, size, shape, color, origin (natural or cultured) and presence of treatments.


GIA offers several programs and courses online through an interactive eLearning format, and through its 12 campus locations around the world. The institute also offers corporate training programs and works with trade organizations worldwide to provide technical training in gemstones and jewelry.

GIA's Carlsbad and New York on-campus courses are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Its Distance Education courses are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).

GIA also exists to educate the gem and jewelry industry and the general public through its publications and outreach efforts. Most notable of these efforts is the quarterly publication of the magazine Gems & Gemology , a respected journal in the field. The journal includes full-length feature articles, as well as reports on GIA research, abstracts of relevant articles from other journals,

Library and Information Center

The Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center, located at GIA's headquarters in Carlsbad, California has a collection of 38,000 books, 700 international magazines and journals, 1,000 videos/DVDs, 80,000 digital images, 300 maps, and approximately 6,000 original jewelry design renderings.

The collection contains works published from 1496 to the present, encompassing the history and modern development of gemology. Subjects include natural and synthetic gemstones, gem treatments, jewelry design, manufacturing, and marketing.

The Liddicoat Library is open to the public and the jewelry trade for on-campus research. The library catalog and other resources are available through the website. A reference staff with gemological expertise is on hand to answer questions and may be contacted by e-mail or telephone.

GIA instruments

GIA also designs and manufactures professional equipment for grading, identifying, and selling diamonds and colored gemstones. These instruments are used to determine the physical and optical properties of gems and analyze their microscopic features.

The first GIA instrument, a 10x eye loupe, was introduced in the early 1930s. Darkfield illumination, a lighting technique that makes gem inclusions easily visible in the microscope, was patented by Robert M. Shipley, Jr., the son of GIA's founder.

Related Research Articles

Emerald Green gemstone, a beryl variety

Emerald is a gemstone and a variety of the mineral beryl (Be3Al2(SiO3)6) colored green by trace amounts of chromium or sometimes vanadium. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5–8 on the Mohs scale. Most emeralds are highly included, so their toughness (resistance to breakage) is classified as generally poor. Emerald is a cyclosilicate.

Gemstone Piece of mineral crystal used to make jewelry

A gemstone is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However, certain rocks and occasionally organic materials that are not minerals are also used for jewelry and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity and notoriety are other characteristics that lend value to gemstones.

Sapphire Gem variety of corundum

Sapphire is a precious gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum, consisting of aluminium oxide (α-Al2O3) with trace amounts of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, vanadium, or magnesium. The name sapphire is derived from the Latin "saphirus" and the Greek "sapheiros", both of which mean blue. It is typically blue, but natural "fancy" sapphires also occur in yellow, purple, orange, and green colors; "parti sapphires" show two or more colors. Red corundum stones also occur, but are called rubies not sapphires. Pink-colored corundum may be classified either as ruby or sapphire depending on locale. Commonly, natural sapphires are cut and polished into gemstones and worn in jewelry. They also may be created synthetically in laboratories for industrial or decorative purposes in large crystal boules. Because of the remarkable hardness of sapphires – 9 on the Mohs scale (the third hardest mineral, after diamond at 10 and moissanite at 9.5) – sapphires are also used in some non-ornamental applications, such as infrared optical components, high-durability windows, wristwatch crystals and movement bearings, and very thin electronic wafers, which are used as the insulating substrates of special-purpose solid-state electronics such as integrated circuits and GaN-based blue LEDs. Sapphire is the birthstone for September and the gem of the 45th anniversary. A sapphire jubilee occurs after 65 years.

Ruby Variety of corundum, mineral, gemstone

A ruby is a pinkish red to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum. Ruby is one of the most popular traditional jewelry gems and is very durable. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires. Ruby is one of the traditional cardinal gems, alongside amethyst, sapphire, emerald, and diamond. The word ruby comes from ruber, Latin for red. The color of a ruby is due to the element chromium.

Gemology Science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials

Gemology or gemmology is the science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials. It is a geoscience and a branch of mineralogy. Some jewelers are academically trained gemologists and are qualified to identify and evaluate gems.

Diamond clarity

Diamond clarity is the quality of diamonds that relates to the existence and visual appearance of internal characteristics of a diamond called inclusions, and surface defects, called blemishes. Clarity is one of the four Cs of diamond grading, the others being carat, color, and cut.

Diamond color Color of diamonds

A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond is perfectly transparent with no hue, or color. However, in reality almost no gem-sized natural diamonds are absolutely perfect. The color of a diamond may be affected by chemical impurities and/or structural defects in the crystal lattice. Depending on the hue and intensity of a diamond's coloration, a diamond's color can either detract from or enhance its value. For example, most white diamonds are discounted in price when more yellow hue is detectable, while intense pink diamonds or blue diamonds can be dramatically more valuable. Of all colored diamonds, red diamonds are the rarest. The Aurora Pyramid of Hope displays a spectacular array of naturally colored diamonds, including red diamonds.

Demantoid Green gemstone variety of the mineral andradite

Demantoid is the green gemstone variety of the mineral andradite, a member of the garnet group of Minerals. Andradite is a calcium- and iron-rich garnet. The chemical formula is Ca3Fe2(SiO4)3 with chromium substitution as the cause of the demantoid green color. Ferric iron is the cause of the yellow in the stone.

Diamond enhancements are specific treatments, performed on natural diamonds, which are designed to improve the visual gemological characteristics of the diamond in one or more ways. These include clarity treatments such as laser drilling to remove black carbon inclusions, fracture filling to make small internal cracks less visible, color irradiation and annealing treatments to make yellow and brown diamonds a vibrant fancy color such as vivid yellow, blue, or pink.

American Gem Society American trade association

The American Gem Society (AGS) is a trade association of retail jewelers, independent appraisers, suppliers, and selective industry members, which was founded in 1934 by Robert M. Shipley.

Diamonds as an investment

Diamonds were largely inaccessible to investors until the recent advent of regulated commodities, due to a lack of price discovery and transparency. The characteristics of individual diamonds, especially the carat weight, color and clarity, have significant impact on values, but transactions were always private. With the standardized commodity as an underlying asset, several market traded financial instruments have been announced.

The Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS) is a private gemological school and gemological laboratory based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Diamond (gemstone) Gemstone

Diamond is one of the best-known and most sought-after gemstones. They have been used as decorative items since ancient times.

International Gemological Institute (IGI) is a diamond, colored stone and jewelry certification organization. IGI is headquartered in Antwerp and has offices in New York City, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Bangkok, Tokyo, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Los Angeles, Kolkata, New Delhi, Surat, Chennai, Thrissur, Ahmedabad, Shanghai, and Cavalese. Established in 1975, IGI is the largest independent gemological laboratory worldwide. It also runs Schools of Gemology in several locations around the globe.

Richard T. Liddicoat, Jr. was an American gemologist. Liddicoat was an educator in gemology, who also made contributions in the area of diamond quality grading and gem identification. Liddicoat was the Chairman of the Board of Governors at Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Universal Gemological Laboratories (GCI) is a gemological laboratory and a college for educational services founded in 1998. The laboratory's main headquarters is in the Israel Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan. The GCI has regional labs and educational centers equipped with local and Israeli staff in Russia and, since June 2006, in India—a disposition of four branches in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata. GCI is the only western laboratory that is officially permitted by the Russian government to operate in Russia.

WD Lab Grown Diamonds ("WD") is a market leader in Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) diamonds, headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area. Founded in 2008, WD produces lab-grown diamonds for distribution under the brands WD Lab Grown Diamonds and Latitude, in addition to creating diamonds for high-tech Advanced Materials applications.

Red diamond Rare red-coloured variety of diamond

A red diamond is a diamond which displays red colour and exhibits the same mineral properties as colourless diamonds. Red diamonds are commonly known as the most expensive and the rarest diamond colour in the world, even more so than pink or blue diamonds, as very few red diamonds have been found. Red diamonds, just like pink diamonds, are greatly debated as to the source of their colour, but the gemological community most commonly attributes both colours to gliding atoms in the diamond's structure as it undergoes enormous pressure during its formation. Red diamonds are among the 12 colours of fancy colour diamonds, and have the most expensive price per carat. They will typically run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per carat range. Since they are the rarest colour, it is difficult to find them in large sizes, and they are mostly found in sizes less than 1 carat. Red diamonds only exist with one colour intensity, Fancy, although their clarities can range from Flawless to Included, just like white diamonds. The largest and most flawless red diamond is the 5.11 carat Fancy Red Moussaieff Red Diamond, which has internally flawless clarity.

Gemological Science International Independent gemological organization

Gemological Science International, or GSI, is an independent gemological organization that is one of the largest gemological entities in the world, with offices in four continents.

Lotus Gemology

Lotus Gemology is a gemology laboratory located in Bangkok, Thailand. It was founded in 2014 by Richard W. Hughes & Wimon Manorotkul and their daughter, E. Billie Hughes. Their idea was that, while precious stones were articles of great beauty, the lab reports issued by gem labs better resembled blood tests from a doctor than a celebration of that beauty. Thus they set about creating lab reports that were both scientifically accurate and aesthetically beautiful. Lotus Gemology's lab report covers are color coded. Gold reports are reserved for gems that are completely untreated, while silver reports are for gems that have been subjected to industry-standard treatments. Black reports are reserved for heavily treated and man-made gems. This consumer-friendly approach is unique in the industry.


  1. "About GIA". GIA. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
  2. 1 2 "Colored Diamonds Shine at GIA's GemFest in Tokyo". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  3. "Robert M. Shipley, Founder of GIA". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  4. "The GIA Difference". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  5. "$64B diamond industry rocked by fraud". CNN. Retrieved 20 December 2005.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. "GIA's Bribery Scandal".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. "Gem Institute Settles Bribe Suit With Broker". Wall Street Journal. 2005-12-22. ISSN   0099-9660 . Retrieved 2021-01-14.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. "GIA Reports and Services". GIA. Retrieved 6 March 2020.