A society is about people; gems are the subjects that bring us together. The IGS has thousands of members on every continent, (except Antarctica of course.) They range from seasoned professionals to the merely curious.
About the IGS
Professionals join because gems are their favorite topic. We offer them the Gem Pricing Guide, news, and advertising privileges. However, from the feedback we receive their favorite part are the technical articles. They tell us the articles are a good refresher and we frequently hear where they have learned something new. The professionals in our organization are important for sharing their wealth of knowledge. No one individual has the experience of the membership as a whole.
On the other hand, some of our members have no interest in working in the trade. They simply want to unravel the mysteries surrounding their prizes. Nowhere else can a person access so much information from an unbiased source.
In between, we have many lapidaries, metal smiths, collectors, and a variety of merchants. Some of our members are making mid-life career changes; others are students planning for the future.
The International Gem Society was created to make this information affordable to everyone. Members are automatically enrolled in our gemology course. You can take the complete course through to their certification. However, there are no required examinations or time frames to deal with. You can just read at your leisure without ever taking an exam.
The IGS takes advantage of the Internet in many ways. The most obvious one is keeping the costs down. The organization exists entirely in cyberspace, there is no physical edifice to maintain. The course materials are all on line. That alone saves hundreds of thousands of dollars in printing costs. It also allows for immediate updates as new information comes available.
We make use of the Internet's communication properties with our weekly eNews. Events in the gem world and our organization are delivered to member's desktop with no measurable expense. The eNews also allows individuals to ask questions and hear a number of replies.
Donald Clark, CSM IMG, founded the International Gem Society in 1998. Donald has been in the gem and jewelry industry since the 1976. He has been a wholesaler and retailer of gemstones and finished jewelry.
About the Founder
He received his formal gemology training from the GIA and the ASG. He has been awarded an IMG, (International Master Gemologist,) which has been appended by many years of practical application.
The letters "CSM" after his name stand for Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter, which has often been referred to as the doctorate of gem cutting. The American Society of Gemcutters only had 54 people reach this level. To become a Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter, the lapidary must pass a written exam and score better than 99.7 on two stones entered in competition.
Along with dozens of articles for leading trade magazines, Donald authored, Modern Faceting, the "Easy Way". This describes a method of faceting he developed. It greatly reduces the time needed to facet fancy shaped gems. It meets a real need in bringing the labor of custom gem cutting closer to the faster, but lower quality factory work.
Outside work, Donald and his wife Sharan are homesteading in the forest of Northern California. He finds the physical labor a refreshing break from the intellectual activities of writing, managing the website and the organization.
What Others are Saying
Just wanted to thank you for the fantastic adventure I have had since becoming a member of IGS. The quality of your Gemology Course is tops. Nice to know that such folks as you exist. What a gift you give, passing this knowledge along to those of us who are seekers.
Dr. John Parrott
You are one heck-of -a-writer. This course is so well written, that I'm convinced that anyone, even me, can understand and master this material. After having read the first four introductory articles, I find myself actually wanting more time to study. It's like a good who-done-it mystery. It just can't be "put down."
I am writing this e-mail specially to extend my most grateful thanks to you (in fact on behalf of all the IGS members) for the variety of invaluable New Year Gifts you have accorded to the members for 2006. I feel, your dedication to "bringing quality information and educational services to everyone interested in gemstones" is truly one-of-its-kind. I, and most probably many other members too, owe our gemology knowledge to IGS. You are indeed our "Guru" in the true sense of the term. Your knack of simplifying the most complicated topics and your constant endeavor to update the existing information are really unique. Since, as you said you have more planned for this year than you will be able to complete, I wish God gifts you longer days which have 42 hours instead of the usual 24!
Thanking you once again and with Best Regards,
I have been on the distant sidelines of the jewelry business for a long time with a great love of colored stones and working with gold. I am committed to getting into the field full-time and even being self-employed and recognize the need for the credentials. I must tell you that IGS is a Godsend for me, as I do not have the resources or the six months required to get a GG from the GIA now. I really appreciate being part of the organization.
Thank you again
I want to personally commend you on your article in the summer issue on the polariscope. I have told you I am self taught with only reference material. I am still trying to learn what I am reading from the article. Thank you for the lesson. This one article is worth five times the membership to IGS!
I have never known or heard of an organization that offers so much for its members, and at such a low cost. You are so honest and helpful to the members. I hope you get the recognition that you deserve. What started as a hobby in 1998 and now is a small home business for my wife and I (we also have day jobs and two young children), has been made so much easier by the information you supply.
Ernest and Peggy Roisch
Rainbow Rocks, LTD.
Thanks for all the effort and work on IGS. It has helped me tremendously in many different aspects of my business, from faceting to pricing and even historical anecdotes that I can share with people at shows. I really appreciate what you are doing.
John Lemieux Rose
2 Roses Studios
Dear Mr. Clark
My sincere thanks for your time in providing the information! Everyone I asked had a clever "answer" which mostly included the much-touted "C" advisory put out by the diamond industry. Made it sound like a closely guarded secret known only to jewelers. I am only a humble collector (mostly garnets) seeking to provide practical information to my broker.
Thank you for encouraging an infant love of gemstones and for being so democratic in promoting the hobby. I have met with a lot of subterfuge. Your attitude is very refreshing and much appreciated.
Mrs. Donna Lambert
You know the best thing that I have learnt from your great courses is that it does not matter how much you think you about gems, you never stop learning, each day there is something more learn, it will never stop. Thank all for the help, education and support that you give IGS members.
One Very Proud Member
Thank you for marking my exam as quickly as you did. I've spent a
tremendous amount of time and energy in preparing for this exam. I am very pleased with my results.
I found the couse material to be very complete and up to date. The exam
format forced me to review the course material over and over. I now feel I
have a pretty good handle on gem theory due to this format.