IGI Introduces New Series Of Online, Interactive Diamond And Jewelry Education Courses

With 20 grading laboratories in North America, Europe, South Asia, East Asia and the Middle East, the 45-year old, Antwerp, Belgium-based International Gemology Institute (IGI) grades more gemstones and finished jewelry in more cities than any other organization of its type. As a nexus of gemological research, gemstone grading; issuing of grading reports and education, IGI serves clients ranging from global jewelry brands to individual jewelry owners, while its 14 gemological institutes train and certify graduate gemologists in various locales. Now, burnishing its 45-year reputation as a leader in its field, IGI is debuting a new interactive online series of IGI eLearning courses.

These feature lessons designed to educate people who are selling fine diamond jewelry, along with those who want to learn more about the nature, styles and substances of naturally mined asm well as lab-grown diamonds. Specifically, IGI is offering a new free, online ‘How To Buy A Diamond’ course for consumers, plus six new online natural and lab-grown diamond-related courses priced at $50.00 each.

These courses are titled: Carat Weight, Color, Clarity, Cut, Lab Grown Diamonds and The Natural Diamond Story. (People may also choose to sign up for all six at once for the reduced rate of $250.00). It’s worth noting here that it’s relatively rare for so much valuable gemological education to be so easily and widely accessible. With a digital device, an Internet connection, funds for the six classes, plus the will to complete the six paid or the one free diamond course, jewelry knowledge upgrades are readily within the reach of 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 educate and empower those consumers who may be shopping for fine diamond jewelry for the first time. “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.”

Designed for a high school reading level, the free course takes less than 45 minutes to complete and every section ends with an interactive question. If the user answers incorrectly, they are directed back to the start of that section, so they get another chance to answer. There is a 12-question quiz at the end which is passed with a score of 80% or higher. 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.”

In addition to designing eLearning courses, tutorials, seminars, and webinars for IGI clients in all sectors, including leading luxury brands, Pollard has been a consultant for diamond producers, grading laboratories and sellers in North America, Europe and Asia. 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. (For brands and jewelers with multiple staff members, IGI also designs brand-specific companion courses for companies that are committed to educating their sales and marketing teams with maximum factual depth, storytelling breadth and consumer-friendly news they can use.)

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. Produced by Mumbai-based Ethereal Green Diamond, this extraordinary stone, named “Pride of India”, is the world’s first polished lab-grown diamond to exceed 30 carats.

Created by the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) process, the “Pride of India” was graded by IGI as embodying H color, VS2 clarity. The type IIa rough crystal from which it derived took approximately four weeks to grow. Ethereal Green Diamond, headquartered in Mumbai, India, has an established 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.”

Regarding the six diamond courses that cost $50.00 each or the six course package that totals $250.00, Pollard comments, “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.” The production and global prevalence of lab-grown diamonds seems to be increasing exponentially with each passing year. 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 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.” Observations such as these seem to suggest that IGI will be delivering lab-grown diamond education for the foreseeable future. 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.

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