Specialty Mini Courses

Pearl Specialist Mini Course

  • Beginner
  • 6 UNITS
  • 25 LESSONS
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Attention all pearl lovers! If you just can't resist the draw of these spherical gems, you'll love this course. Dive deep into the world of pearls to learn how they form and what gives them their remarkable glow. Looking to purchase or sell pearls? Learn about different types of pearls, from cultured Akoyas to ultra-rare melo pearls, and how to properly care for them. Every pearl enthusiast will learn something new in this course.

About this course

Attention all pearl lovers! If you just can't resist the draw of these spherical gems, you'll love this course. Dive deep into the world of pearls to learn how they form and what gives them their remarkable glow. Looking to purchase or sell pearls? Learn about different types of pearls, from cultured Akoyas to ultra-rare melo pearls, and how to properly care for them. Every pearl enthusiast will learn something new in this course.

  • Beginner
  • 6 UNITS
  • 25 LESSONS

Who is this course for?

  • Hobbyists: Learn how to evaluate and care for pearls
  • Consumers: Learn how to choose a pearl for jewelry
  • Professionals: Think you know pearls? Test your knowledge!

What this course offers

  • Brand new pearl articles in our Reference Library, including a recent interview with renowned pearl expert, Jim Grahl
  • Gain specialized knowledge on pearls that will help you to build your gemology skills
  • Complete the mini-course at your own pace as you balance personal and professional commitments
  • Test your knowledge: To earn the IGS Pearl 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 Pearl Mini-course and gain specialized knowledge about one of the most popular organic gemstones. Build expertise in 6 core areas — pearl formation and properties, evaluating cultured pearls, understanding non-nacreous pearls, how to choose a pearl distinguishing natural and cultured pearls from simulants, and grading pearls — while learning through articles and visuals. This completely online mini-course is an affordable way to pursue your hobby or build a career in gemology.

Course Roadmap

Read the Lessons

Written Test

Earn Badge

Units & Lessons

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 Pearl 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 Pearl 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 Pearl 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.

Start this Course Today

From Actinolite to Zoisite, dig into every facet of the fascinating world of gems with IGS gemology courses.

50% off or FREE with Membership

Gem Enthusiast Members get all Mini Courses for 50% off. Professional Members get all Mini Courses for free.

More about membership

120-day money back guarantee


We believe that joining IGS will save you time, money and heartache on your gemstone education and purchases. Our community of fellow enthusiasts and professionals wholeheartedly agree, which is why we are able to confidently extend a full 120-day money back guarantee on your membership. If you decide that IGS isn’t right for you for any reason, we’ll refund your membership purchase within 120 days of purchase; or your course purchase within 14 days of purchase. No questions asked.