The Antwerp-based, 45-year-old, Belgium-based grading laboratory has 20 locations in North America and Europe, South Asia, East Asia, East Asia, and the Middle East. International Gemology Institute (IGI)It grades more gemstones and finished jewellery in more cities than any other organization. IGI is a hub for gemological research, gemstone grade, education, and issuing grading reports. It also trains and certifies graduate gemologists in 14 different locations. IGI has launched an interactive online series of IGI-eLearning courses to continue its 45-year legacy as a leader in the field.
These lessons are intended to help people who sell fine diamond jewelry as well as those who want to know more about the styles, nature, and substances of lab-grown as well as naturally mined diamonds. IGI offers a new, free online course. ‘How To Buy A Diamond’Consumer course, plus six new online courses about lab-grown and natural diamonds. Each course costs $50.00
These courses are titled: Carat Weight, Color, Clarity, Cut, Lab Grown Diamonds and The Natural Diamond Story.For a reduced rate of $250.00, people can sign up for all six at the same time. It’s worth noting here that it’s relatively rare for so much valuable gemological education to be so easily and widely accessible. Access to the Internet, a digital device and funds for six classes, as well as the willingness to complete the one-off free diamond course, allows jewelry knowledge upgrades to be easily accessible to millions.
According to Avi Levy, President of IGI’s North American division, IGI’s free online “How To Buy A Diamond”Course was created to empower and educate consumers who are shopping for fine diamond jewelry. “Many people who want to buy diamond jewels are at a disadvantage because they’re unaware of the essential facts and nuances that can account for a diamond’s perceived beauty, gemological quality and market value,”Levy notes. “Although many people take the time to research diamonds before buying, their attempts can be hindered by online misinformation, unqualified or ill-informed salespeople or inaccurate marketing claims.”
To help consumers elude such potential scenarios, “We designed IGI’s ‘How to Buy A Diamond’ online course to demystify diamonds and empower the public through audio-visual learning,” says John Pollard, IGI’s Senior Director For Education. “Moving images and video are accompanied by narration reinforced with text bullet points,” Pollard continues. “The course’s soft, rhythmic musical soundtrack keeps things moving while the color scheme is conducive to learning.”
The course is intended for high school readers and takes less time than 45 minutes to complete. Each section ends in an interactive question. If the user answers incorrectly, they will be redirected back to the beginning of the section to get another chance to answer. The quiz has 12 questions and is scored at the end with an average score of 80%. Pollard asserts, “Those who pass the quiz come away with diamond facts and clear action plans that can help them shop for diamond jewelry with confidence and newfound expertise.”
Pollard has also designed eLearning courses and tutorials for IGI clients across all sectors, including luxury brands. In addition, he has been a consultant to diamond producers, grading laboratories, and sellers in North America and Europe. Having presented seminars at JCK Las Vegas, the American Gem Society Conclave and trade conferences in Beijing and Shanghai, China, Pollard is continually working with IGI’s Levy and others to include the most timely and relevant facts and figures in IGI’s educational offerings. IGI also offers brand-specific companion courses to help jewelers and brands with multiple employees. This is for companies that are committed in educating their sales and marketing departments with the most factual depth, storytelling breadth, and consumer-friendly news.
A point of pride for Pollard and Levy is IGI’s penchant for making major diamond news which it can then use to add value and interest to its course materials. For example, in June 2022, IGI earned a place in the narrative of jewelry history by analyzing and grading a 30.18 carat emerald cut lab-grown diamond, the world’s largest to date. Mumbai-based Ethereal Green DiamondNamed after this remarkable stone “Pride of India”, is the world’s first polished lab-grown diamond to exceed 30 carats.
The Chemical Vapor Deposition process (CVD), creates the “Pride of India”IGI graded it as having H color and VS2 clarity. It took approximately four weeks for the type IIa rough crystal to grow. Ethereal Green Diamond, located in Mumbai, India has a reputation for producing large, high quality lab grown diamonds. According to Hirav Anil Virani, Ethereal’s Managing Director, “IGI is the largest organization of its kind, having laboratories worldwide, with an impeccable customer driven team and ameliorating technologies and equipment. This gives us the trust and confidence to certify our diamonds at IGI.”
Pollard comments on the six diamond courses, which cost $50.00 each, and the six-course package that totals $250.00. “Whether you’re a first-time buyer or long-time jewelry lover, these short interactive courses cover those topics that diamond shoppers deem most important when making high value decisions. As lab grown diamonds become more prevalent in jewelry designs, brick and mortar stores and luxury websites,” Pollard ventures, “evidence-based, neutral education such as IGI offers has never been more timely. Consumers and those who work in jewelry, fashion and luxury industries are looking for the most reliable, up-to-date information on the nature and relative values of various types of lab-grown diamonds.”Each year, the production and global availability of lab-grown diamonds seem to be increasing exponentially. During JCK Las Vegas, the world’s largest jewelry show, held in in June 20222, over 17,000 attendees from 130 countries encountered over 80 exhibitors in the lab grown diamond section.
As a veteran jewelry journalist Jennifer Heebner notes, “The lab-grown diamond division at JCK has mushroomed in the past few years. Just about every retailer I spoke to at JCK this year was looking at lab-grown diamonds to stock in their store. I still don’t see them used that much in finished lines, but retailers are definitely looking at them for the bridal category as center stones.”These observations suggest that IGI will continue to offer lab-grown diamond education. In the meantime, given that continuing COVID surges are occurring all over the world, IGI’s other eLearning courses are ideally suited, and ideally timed, for a global audience of people looking to acquire first-rate, professional online gemological education.