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 Topaz 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 Topaz 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 Topaz 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.