Gemology Tools Mini Course

Price: $49.95 USD
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Course Details

Beginner 5 Units 38 Lessons

About this Course

Do all the different tools in gemology confuse you? Whether you’re just setting up your at-home gem lab or an old pro who needs a refresher, you’ll love this course. Learn everything you need to know about standard gemology tools, from how they work to how to use them.

Who is this course for?

  • Hobbyists: Learn how to examine gemstones
  • Consumers: Learn how a gemologist might test your gemstone
  • Professionals: Think you know these tools? Test your knowledge!

What this course offers

  • Brand new articles in our Reference Library, including a recent interview with renowned gemologist, Cara Williams
  • Exclusive videos explaining how to use the microscope, refractometer, dichroscope, spectroscope, and other tools
  • Gain specialized knowledge in using these tools for gemstone identification
  • Complete the mini-course at your own pace, as you balance personal and professional commitments
  • Test your knowledge: to earn the IGS Gemology Tools Badge, take one 25 question quiz

Why take this course?

A flexible and affordable mini-course from one of the top online gemology schools.

Enroll in the IGS Gemology Tools Mini-course and learn to use your tools with ease. Build expertise in 5 core areas — essential tools, tools for magnification, determining optical properties, measuring physical properties, and advanced gemology tools — while learning through articles, visuals, and exclusive videos. This completely online mini-course is an affordable way to pursue your hobby or build a career in gemology.

Course Roadmap

Read Lessons
Written Test
Earn Badge

Units and Lessons

Unit 1 - Introduction to Gemology Tools

Ready to learn about the tools of the trade? In this unit, you’ll learn why gemologists need these scientific instruments, rather than just a good set of eyes. Which ones will you use the most? Gemologist Cara Williams will cover the tools she finds most important. Not sure what equipment you need to get started? Take a look at our recommendations for your at-home gem lab.

See Lessons (3)
Unit 2 - Tools for Magnification

Getting up-close and personal with the gem you’re studying can reveal a lot of information. Learn about these essential magnification tools and how to use them effectively.

See Lessons (4)
Unit 3 - Measuring Optical Properties

The optical properties of different crystals can help you to identify them. Learn how the refractometer, dichroscope, polariscope, and spectroscope work and what you can measure with them. Are you unfamiliar with these tools? Our instructional videos will help you along the way.

See Lessons (18)
Unit 4 - Measuring Physical Properties

Along with optical properties, physical properties can help you distinguish gemstones. This unit will teach you how to measure specific gravity, one of the most important clues for gem identification. You’ll also learn how to conduct destructive tests. Although these procedures can damage your specimen, they can provide useful information for identifying rough stones.

See Lessons (12)
Unit 5 - Advanced Gemology Tools

Of course, your at-home gem lab won’t be enough to identify every gemstone. In some cases, the only way to discover the true nature of a gem is to use advanced equipment in a commercial lab. Learn the basics behind the operation of these machines and how they’ve become critical to the modern gem trade.

See Lessons (1)

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be assigned an instructor for the course?

The course is self-study. This means that all of the material is on our website, and the burden is on the student to follow the Syllabus to learn the material. The benefit of this approach is that each student can learn at his or her own pace, and on his or her own schedule. Students can take as long as they want to complete the quiz to earn the Gemology Tools Badge.

Won’t the self-study model be difficult if I’m a beginner?

For beginners we recommend following our structured Syllabus, however you may study the material in any order that suits you.

What is required to pass?

In order to earn the Gemology Tools Badge you must pass the quiz at the end of the course with a score of 87% or better. You may retake the exam an unlimited number of times until you pass.

How is the quiz administered?

All examinations are administered via online test-taking software accessed via your password-protected account on the IGS website.

Can I see a sample of the test questions?

Sure! We have some sample gemology questions from the actual IGS Professional Gemologist certification exam. This should give you a sense of the types of questions that we ask in our course exams and quizzes.

How long should it take me to complete the course?

The time it takes you to read all of the material and take the quiz depends on your level of interest, motivation, and time commitment. It can be done in a day, a week, or a month (or longer depending on your schedule!).

How does the IGS Gemology Tools Course compare with those offered by the GIA or similar organizations?

The GIA is an excellent organization. Their Graduate Gemologist degree is the most respected credential a person can hold in this industry. If you have the time and money, and are serious about a career in the gem industry, the GG course of study offered by the GIA should be your first choice. The IGS courses were created for everyone else. The founder of IGS and original author of the Professional Gemologist program, Donald Clark, has strong connections with the lapidary community. For years, he listened to amateurs giving inaccurate advice to others. For example, he heard things like: “If your blue stone has an RI of 1.625, then it is topaz, not aquamarine.” Those two properties, color and RI, also belong to tourmaline and a few rare minerals. Blue topaz and blue tourmaline have vastly different values. Not knowing the difference can be costly, in terms of both money and reputation. Donald Clark believed that the problem stemmed not from the well-meaning lapidary sharing his incomplete knowledge, but rather that there wasn’t anywhere to learn gem identification, short of taking (what was back then) a $3,000 course. For them, he created IGS. It is dedicated to all the gem cutters, collectors, jewelers, and others wanting to know more about gems but who do not have the resources to attend GIA.

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Price: $49.95 USD
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