American Gem Society

If you’ve bought a diamond recently, it probably came with a diamond report.  And that report might very well have come from the American Gem Society Laboratories (A.G.S.L.).  The story of the American Gem Society is an interesting one that started back in 1934.   Back then and still today, the A.G.S. is an organization dedicated to the maintenance of high ethical standards in the jewelry industry.  Its primary purposes are 1) to encourage professional education within the jewelry industry and 2) build consumer confidence and trust in the knowledge, integrity, and competence of professionals in the jewelry industry.

Robert Shipley is the man responsible for starting A.G.S.  He came from a retail jewelry background here in the U.S., but, after spending some time in Paris learning more about gemology, he felt that the industry lacked the education it needed.  He started a correspondence school in 1931 called the Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A.) Three years later he established the American Gem Society, a sort of alumni association of G.I.A.  The society started out small, and it was housed in the same building as G.I.A.  Mr. Shipley was the President of G.I.A. and the Executive Director of A.G.S.

Al Woodhill took over as Executive Director of A.G.S. in 1946, and in 1948 the organization moved into its own headquarters.  In 1955, A.G.S. established a Diamond Standards Committee which published the first A.G.S. Diamond Grading Standards Manual in 1966.   Diamonds are evaluated using the 4Cs–cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.  Carat weight is measured, but cut, color, and clarity are graded using a 0 – 10 point scale.   Triple zero would be the grade given to the Ideally cut, Colorless, and Flawless diamond.

The American Gem Society , LLC opened in 1996 and became a leader in the grading of diamonds.  Its Diamond Quality Document presents a complete analysis and documentation of the 4Cs.  It provides both the professional and the customer with the details needed to fully understand what is being purchased.

Today’s customers can feel confident about their purchases if they are buying from an A.G.S. member store.  Standards and regulations protect the consumer in a way that customers one hundred years ago could never have expected.  Consumer confidence benefits everyone–customers, retailers, and suppliers.  We owe our appreciation to Robert Shipley and the American Gem Society.

rbt shipley