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Robert Shipley, Founder of AGS and GIA

Robert. M Shipley Sr. was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1887 and became a successful Wichita jeweler. And there his career may well have ended, buying gems and selling jewelry to the local society figures.


However, it was one of his wealthy clients who had just visited some of the diamond cutting centers in Europe who highlighted to Shipley that his knowledge of diamonds was incomplete. Shipley was unaware of many technical details of diamonds, which had inadvertently led him to sell some substandard stones.



Shipley was thus inspired to travel to Great Britain in 1928 to study gemology with the world's leading experts. When he returned home as one of the first graduates of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, Shipley took with him the the traditions of the great European guilds and institutes.

Back in the United States, Shipley realized that America's jewelry Industry needed to be governed by professional standards of training and practice as he had seen abroad. Shipley first began by teaching a night course in gemology at the University of Southern California. It was so popular that in 1931 he founded the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Los Angeles.

At the same time he published his book, Gemology, and within the year some 250 jewelers had enrolled for his courses. Shipley and his team also traveled throughout the United States providing home-study courses, which were completed by correspondence, giving US retail jewelers the chance to acquire gemological knowledge as well as sound business practice.

A few years later in 1934, he also established the American Gem Society (AGS), an association dedicated to creating and policing high standards of ethics and professionalism in the American jewelry industry, open only to graduates of the GIA with sound business reputations. Its aim was to create consumer confidence in the industry, which until then had enjoyed a less than spotless reputation.

Here is a quote from the founder of the American Gem Society:

“Both knowledge and ethics are necessary to protect the consumer because a knowledgeable gemologist, without ethics, can cheat the customer by misrepresentation while the most ethical jeweler can innocently mislead the customer because of lack of knowledge.”

       Founded in 1943, AGS Laboratories is among the best known and well respected diamond grading laboratories in the world. They have pioneered the development of the FIRST scientific system that evaluates how well a diamond has been cut. Throughout the world, AGS Laboratories has been acclaimed as an innovator because of the extensive research and development that was and continues to be devoted to how well a diamond is cut

       AGS Laboratories shares the important mission of the Society of consumer protection, adherence to the highest ethical standards in conducting business in the jewelry industry, and continuing gemological education for jewelers.
They are regarding as the Rolls Royce of the diamond grading Lab.  Most of the reports sent was for the higher value, and better cut diamond with Triple ideal status.

Aset Image of a set of diamonds. The unique technology shows the direct light, reflected light, contrast light and light leakage presented in a diamond. It also indirectly shows the Arrow image of a diamond

       Established in 1931, the Gemological Institute of America is the world’s foremost authority on diamonds. 


       In 1953, the GIA created its International Diamond Grading System, which specifies uniform criteria for grading diamonds. The GIA grading system is recognized worldwide, and diamond manufacturers from around the globe send diamonds to the GIA’s laboratories for examination and grading.  Currently GIA account for more than 40% of the diamond report issued worldwide.  Robert M. Shipley, founder of the prestigious school of gemology, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is also the founder of American Gem Society.  In the US, people regards AGS and GIA as sister company aiming at very different level of consumers

HRD, which stands for Hoge Raad voor Diamant, or "Diamond High Council," officially represents the Belgian diamond sector at home and abroad. Established in Antwerp in 1973, HRD is a multifaceted organization. Among its many departments are HRD Certificates, which meets the growing demand for diamond certifications, and HRD Research, which delivers technological support to the diamond industry

Positioning of the Laboratories


The lab has its own positioning with regards to their market of interest.  Each Lab charges similar for the price of issuing the diamond report but the selling prices of a diamond with different report can have big differences.


Manufacturer tend to sell the stones with specific kind of report accepted by such  market segmentation.  Price of the diamond with certain Lab report can fetch as high as 50% premium over the same quality diamond eg 1.05 HVS1.  Come talk to us if you have questions for us.
       The International Gemological Institute (IGI), established in 1975 in Antwerp and New York, is one of the private gemological institutions.  IGI is aggressive and creative in marketing to cater the growing consumer demand for tailor made certificates.  IGI has bases of operations in eight vital industry locations throughout the world.
       The European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) was founded in Belgium more than 30 years ago. In 1977, the EGL established its North American headquarters in New York City. EGL is operating in main hubs independently in different continent mostly through franchise operation