Professional Affiliations
By Loren Brown

RSA Gems is pleased to be affiliated with the following colored gemstone professional organizations. Each occupies a unique niche in the colored gemstone world and each is an outstanding organization that we are proud to work with.

The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA)

The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) is dedicated to the colored gemstone and jewelry industry in the United States. Their members include some of the most famous jewelry designers in the world today. All members adhere to a strict code of ethics, something very important for your peace if mind. If you want a special jewelry piece designed for you, you can look through the directory of members to find a qualified jeweler (or gemstone artist). Each year AGTA hosts two large gem and jewelry trade shows (The AGTA Gem Fair), one in Tucson, Arizona and one in Las Vegas, Nevada. They also host the very prestigious Spectrum Awards, a design contest for both jewelers and gemstone artists.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the world’s foremost authority on both diamonds and colored gemstones. Their diamond grading system is the standard throughout the world. They use a similar method to grade colored stones as well. GIA offers gemology education and training, which includes certification as a graduate gemologist. But probably the most important function of GIA is their scientific research relating to gemstone treatments. New gemstone treatments are cropping up all the time and GIA has the tools and training to identify these treatments. We send all our expensive cut gemstones to GIA for their investigation in order to verify the gemstone type and to ensure it has not been treated in any way. This is especially important in the case of rubies and sapphires because it is not uncommon for these to be heated and fissure-filled with leaded glass in the rough, then sold to the gemstone cutter without disclosure of the treatment. Treated gemstones are valued considerably lower than natural untreated gemstones and we must be certain that the gems we offer are exactly what we believe them to be. For more information on various treatments, see the gemstone treatment article.

Gemworld International

Gemworld International has a definitive color system used for grading gemstones. Evaluating the color and quality of a finished gem is very important because the value depends heavily on color. They not only have a comprehensive colored gemstone grading system (similar to, but not the same as the GIA grading system), but also a comprehensive valuation system available to its members. Because of their consistent and frequently updated gemstone value system, we subscribe to and use this system exclusively in evaluating our finished gems prior to offering them for sale. For more information on how we use this grading system, see the gemstone valuation and the gemstone color articles.

The International Gem Society (IGS)

The International Gem Society (IGS) focuses primarily on gemstone education. They have training available in gemology, offer a basic gem price guide, and have forums available to their members. They also list member businesses to assist you in selecting a jeweler, gemstone dealer, or gemstone artist. They frequently publish articles about specific gemstones, and you can read many of their articles for free without becoming a member. Other articles require membership, and there are different levels of membership available depending on your needs.

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