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The Power of Credentials-A Retailer’s Perspective |  October 12, 2020 (0 comments)


Mankato, MN--In these uncertain times, business owners need all the tools they can access to improve and even maintain their business. Just as an accountant knows that a CPA credential can take their career to the next level, a professional credential can also help jewelers in ways that are both tactical and strategic.

To earn and maintain a credential, you have to recertify, often annually, which means completing an exam that tests your skills and knowledge. In short, recertifying for a credential ensures that you are performing at your very best professionally.

If you are in the early stages of your jewelry career or have been in your profession for a few years and want to progress, a credential can help you achieve the advancement you seek. If you are a seasoned professional, a credential will refresh your knowledge and keep pace with new discoveries and information.

AGS Focuses on Credentials

As credentialed professionals, American Gem Society (AGS) jewelers are tested annually to ensure that they are on top of the latest developments in gemology, but also in government regulations (like anti-money laundering). Studying for an AGS recertification means you are learning marketing and sales best practices and how to engage a diverse client base including Gen Z, millennial, Gen X, and boomers. You also get guidance for human resources and legal issues, as well as succession planning. To earn and keep your AGS credential, you study a diverse range of subjects each year.

Every year as AGS titleholders, my team and I look forward to the AGS recertification exam because we learn so much from it. The AGS study guide is rich and comprehensive in content. We can use what we learn in these abstracts to hold more productive meetings throughout the year for our staff. The AGS education keeps our team cutting edge and progressive as we stay informed on topics that influence our success as a business and jeweler. We know education and training is a key to providing a memorable, rewarding, and legendary experience for our clients

Retailers Discuss Value of Credentials

Given the impact that the credentials have had on me and my team, I asked fellow AGS titleholders to describe what credentials have meant to them in their careers. Here’s what they had to say:

“As a proud member of the American Gem Society, I can safely say that I believe there are many benefits to our membership, but the most important is our AGS titles. The titleholders on our team proudly display their credentials on their business cards and tout them at the counter to their clients. It establishes them as an expert and silently assures the consumer that we are here to help guide their decisions with sound gemological education. Our titles change our people which, in turn, changes our business.”--John Carter, CGA, Jack Lewis Jewelers

“I am part of the quality control staff at Ben Bridge Jeweler. My title is my qualification for this job position. The skills I gained from the title training makes me confident to understand and explain the 4Cs and AGS grading system, effectively check AGS graded diamonds as well as other mounted diamond jewelry towards our minimum quality requirement, and also grade both loose and mounted diamonds. This is all thanks to the AGS program!”--Jane AO, CGA, Ben Bridge Jeweler

“We at Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry believe firmly in education and training. The AGS is an invaluable resource to help our staff to be the most knowledgeable in the industry while delivering an extraordinary experience to our customers.”--Scott Berg, CG, Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry

“Requiring our sales staff, bench jewelers, and managers to attain the title of Registered Jeweler during their first 18 months of employment is part of our corporate culture. We talk about this requirement during the initial interview and train toward that goal every week. We have done this for over 15 years and feel that our AGS credentialed staff is the key to our long-term success.”--R. Michael Richards, CG, Underwood Jewelers

“AGS credentials are powerful because they instill knowledge and confidence in our team. Our top associates seek out their titles to grow their business and as validation of their expertise for themselves and for their customers.”--Lisa Bridge, CG, Ben Bridge Jeweler

“Our AGS credentials are super important. We have so much to learn! Once we get our degree from GIA, we can continue our education through AGS. We study, take an exam, and receive one AGS title, and then take the next steps to move up to the next level, and so on, and keep recertifying each year. We become a Ph.D. in a way by keeping on top of everything. Plus, taking the annual recertification exam makes us more credible than any educational degree in the industry.”--Jenny O. Calleri, CGA, Huntington Jewelers, Inc.

“As with any profession, knowledge is power and AGS gemological expertise elevates your skills and expertise. Choosing to earn the advanced gemological titles of the American Gem Society will establish you as an expert in your community. We consider our gemological credentials to be one of the most important assets we have. Without gemological knowledge and advanced AGS titles, you’re just a clerk selling shiny objects. Choosing to invest in you and your staff through education and advanced AGS titles is quite possibly the most important business decision you’ll ever make.”--Craig Underwood, CGA, Underwood's Fine Jewelers

“Having held a title from the American Gem Society for almost 20 years, I can say the importance of the title and the confidence it gives is invaluable. With stricter requirements for membership and an annual recertification required to keep your title, you can really stick out from your competition. That commitment to education and consumer protection has to start at the top. And it's far more than getting a title and stopping. An American Gem Society title is really a start point and a foundation for continuing your education.”--Joel Hassler, ICGA, Von Hasle Jewelry Advisers

“I was asked by a friend to join the Society and serve as the national treasurer for the AGS Guilds. As a new member, I discovered the Certified Gemologist Appraiser program. I was encouraged to enroll in the courses to complete the education and certification. Within the first year, I completed my appraisal theory studies and passed the required tests. The interesting part of the AGS was about to become a reality for me. I was now in the company of highly respected and well-known industry professionals that were held to a very high standard. They shared ideas and collaborated on appraisal education and willfully offered guidance and help at every turn. I used my new-found education in the appraising world which propelled my career to a much higher level of professionalism that I could not have achieved without the education. Now, I serve as a mentor for others that are working on their CGA certification and with that opportunity of helping others, I in turn learn even more.”--Marc Altman, CGA, B&E Jewelers and Gemologist

If you are interested in learning more about an AGS credential, reach out to me or the AGS team. Contact

Sarah Person is the owner of the fine jewelry store, Exclusively Diamonds, in Mankato, MN.

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