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Gemological Institute of America

The Gemological Institute of America, or GIA, is a non-profit institute dedicated to research and education in the field of gemology. The GIA is also well known for its gem identification and grading services, and developed the famous "four Cs" (Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat weight) methodology of grading diamonds. Although the GIA is best known for its activities in relation to diamonds, the institute is also involved with colored gemstones and pearls. The educational arm of the GIA confers the Graduate Gemologist diploma upon its graduates; the institute also offers other diploma programs. The GIA was founded in 1931 by Robert Shipley in Los Angeles, California. Today, the institute is headquartered in Carlsbad, California, north of San Diego.



Gemological laboratories such as GIA are actively engaged in research to advance the science of gemology. Historically, research has focused on developing methods and technologies to accurately identify and characterize gems. This research has produced significant advances in the ability to differentiate gems and identify simulants (particularly diamond simulants). The GIA was also responsible for the first modern diamond grading reports, where it introduced grading methodologies for diamond color and diamond clarity. Today, these scales and methods are the standard within the gem trade for characterization of diamonds.

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.


The GIA offers several diplomas through vocational-type programs at its main campus in Carlsbad, as well as satellite campuses in Culver City and New York and eleven international locations around the world. The most prestigious of these diplomas is the Graduate Gemologist diploma (designated by the initials "G.G." after a person's name). Graduates of the program must have completed eight courses, including courses on diamond and colored stone identification and grading. The Graduate Gemologist diploma can be obtained through a six-month full time course of study at one of GIA's campuses, or on the virtual campus over the same or an extended time frame.

The GIA also exists to educate the gem 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, book reviews, and industry news from around the world.

Student Body Council (SBC)

The Student Body Council (SBC) at GIA Carlsbad, CA is a student run organization which was founded in March of 2005 by Sumeet Chordia. The organization began with the intention of increasing student leadership and involvement around campus. Shortly after, the council adapted other responsibilities and today it is the only organization within GIA entirely operated by students.

SBC members are actively involved on and off campus in helping the institute and other students. Furthermore, SBC’s members are dedicated to upholding the highest standards of Integrity, Leadership and true Professionalism. For more information visit:


Through its arm the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory, GIA provides diamond grading services to describe the characteristics of loose diamonds. The GIA issues two types of reports, the more complete being the Diamond Grading Report (a briefer and less expensive version is called a Diamond Dossier). The Diamond Grading Report identifies the key characteristics of a diamond which can be used to both identify the diamond and determine its value. The reports contain a number of measurements, including of carat weight as well as a diagram of where and what types of inclusions are located in the diamond. This type of report is now offered by competitors to GIA, although GIA's reports are widely considered to be the strictest, and therefore most reputable available. Diamond grading reports 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.


The GIA has several competitors in providing diamond grading reports:

The Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD), which means Diamond High Council, is Europe's counterpart to the GIA. HRD is popular in the Far East and Europe where it is a legal document recognized by the European Union.

The International Gemological Institute (IGI), The IGI is an interesting competitor in that it does a large quantity of business, probably more than the GIA, but a good portion of that business comes from appraisals. Many of which are done on Diamonds and Jewelry that carry a GIA report of quality.

The European Gemological Laboratory (EGL), The EGL's grading standards are sometimes perceived as less strict and a diamond may be more likely to receive higher grading from EGL than GIA.

The American Gemological Society (AGS), the AGS has traditionally focused on providing a cut grade which the industry was lacking in order to market higher end merchandise. The AGS is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

There are also a number of well-respected labs affiliated to CIBJO.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gemological_Institute_of_America". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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