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Commentary: The Business

AGS Turns Over Light-Performance Mission to GIA

AGS Labs’ contribution to diamond grading will live on, says John Carter.




SHORTLY AFTER THE American Gem Society (AGS) founded AGS Laboratories in 1996, it became clear to me that there was something exceptional about a diamond if it obtained the coveted grade of AGS Ideal. I wanted to be a part of an organization that did something as bold as revolutionizing the way diamonds were cut worldwide. It’s why I initially joined AGS.

What this laboratory accomplished was nothing short of a revolution within our industry. The American Gem Society Laboratories was the first grading laboratory to offer an overall cut grade report. Visionary suppliers began to recognize the importance of such a report and that it could tell a story that directly benefited the customer. Once the spark was lit and these standards spread, an AGS Ideal became a true symbol of optimal performance.

Eventually, other worthy laboratories came in and told a similar story, but our proportion-based system continued to evolve and led to the ASET-based light performance system. To this day, the highest compliment a diamond can be paid is for it to receive AGS 0 or AGS Ideal for light performance.

AGS recently announced it had made the strategic decision to close the lab and focus solely on its mission and membership. While this journey for AGS Laboratories has been a glorious revolution, AGS finds that for our mission to continue, we needed help from the name we’ve all come to know and trust. GIA (Gemological Institute of America) will take up the lab’s cause from here with its AGS Ideal Report, a supplemental digital report that adds a light performance grade to their 4Cs documents.

It’s fitting that AGS Laboratories’ legacy should wind up in their capable hands. AGS and GIA are sibling organizations; they share the same founder, and their missions are connected.

The research of our laboratory will now find itself led by Susan Jacques and her team, comprised of the finest gemological minds in the world. AGS members and supporters of our lab should be proud, as we know that our standards are in the thoughtful care of GIA.


While this transition may be bittersweet, it is also a chance to say “thank you” to the American Gem Society Laboratories.

AGS Laboratories, not only did you spark a revolution, but you also changed how we buy diamonds forever. This transition ensures that your hard work and contribution to the never-ending cause of unlocking a diamond’s optimal beauty will live forever.



When the Kids Have Their Own Careers, Wilkerson Can Help You to Retire

Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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