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ABOUT THE GEM LAB

OUR STORY

I've been involved with gems and jewelry from a very early age and learned to cut gemstones, design and make fine jewelry before becoming a GIA trained Gemologist in 1987.  My entire career has been the result of my passion for providing my clients with the best service and products I'm capable of.  In the 1980's it became clear to me that appraising gems and jewelry required a completely different set of skills and specialized training that very few jewelers or gemologists possess. In order to become a true expert in the field of jewelry appraisal I sought training from the International Society of Appraisers, National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, American Gem Society, Jewelers Education Foundation and the American Society of Appraisers. I earned the highest designation each organization has to offer. The expertise I bring to each of the services I offer is the result of a continual pursuit of knowledge that continues to this day.  In the current jewelry climate, it's clear that an expert who is able to help with the sale and acquisition of fine estate jewelry at the most advantageous price is an important ally for individuals, trustees and executors to have.  I approach these services with the same level of expertise and effort on my clients' behalf as I have my entire career.  All this is intended to let you know that if you're looking for gemological, value, resale and specialized sourcing information and advice from someone who knows what they're doing; you've found the right place!
I look forward to serving you,
Mark T. Cartwright, MGA, ASA, CMA, APPA, GG (GIA)

SO WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THOSE INITIALS?

That string of initials after Mark’s name seems pretty excessive and probably deserves some explanation:

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MGA

MGA, "Master Gemologist Appraiser ®" is the highest gemological and appraisal certification of the American Society of Appraisers and was earned by completion of a specialized "connoisseurship" class, a practical examination including identification of gems and diamond grading and submission of appraisals to the Board of Examiners.  This certification is only available to members of the American Society of Appraisers who have already earned the Accredited Senior Appraiser designation in the Gems and Jewelry Discipline.  Re-certification is required every 5 years and involves completion of an additional connoisseurship course, practical examination and appraisal reports for review by the Board of Examiners. Re-certification of the Accredited Senior Appraiser designation is required at the same time.

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ICGA

ICGA, "Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser" is the highest gemological and appraisal designation of the American Gem Society and was earned by completion of the same courses, experience, tests and peer reviewed appraisals that are required of retail Certified Gemologist Appraiser members of AGS with some additional requirements.  These additional requirements include the necessity to document extensive professional development credits, appraisal experience hours and submission of additional appraisal reports for peer review.  Further, the ICGA member must complete the 3 Advanced Personal Property Appraiser courses and pass the comprehensive APPA examination.  The ICGA member must have an AGS Accredited Gem Laboratory and pass the highest level of the annual re-certification examination expected of all AGS members. After 19 years, I relinquised my ICGA designation in 2019 in order to pursue greater involvement with the American Society of Appraisers as the Chairman of the International Gems and Jewelry Discipline Committee and codeveloper and instructor of several appraisal courses.

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ASA

ASA, "Accredited Senior Appraiser" is the highest appraisal designation offered by the American Society Appraisers. This designation is earned by completion of 4 Principles of Valuation courses and examinations, extensive education and experience documentation and the submission of appraisal reports to the Board of Examiners.  It can also be awarded on the basis of "bridging" from another appraisal organization that, like ASA, is also a "sponsor" member of The Appraisal Foundation which was created by an act of Congress to create and maintain national standards for appraisers and appraisals.  "Sponsor" members must meet all requirements for the Appraisal Standards Board (for instance USPAP) and the Appraiser Qualifications Board as well as other requirements.  In short, the ASA designation represents the pinnacle of the appraisal profession and requires a re-certification every 5 years by documentation of at least 100 hours of continuing education credits and submission of appraisal reports for review by the Board of Examiners.

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CMA

CMA, "Certified Master Appraiser" is the highest designation offered by the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. This designation is earned by completion of the NAJA Appraisal Studies Course, the accumulation of “points” based on additional gemological and appraisal education, a minimum of seven years full-time appraisal experience and the successful completion of a comprehensive examination on appraisal theory along with submission of two appraisal reports for peer review.  Annual recertification is based on documented additional professional development credits.

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APPA

APPA, "Advanced Personal Property Appraiser"is the designation conferred by the completion of the Jewelers Education Foundation’s Advanced Personal Property Appraisal courses and successfully passing the 4 hour examination which covers the contents of all 3 courses.  This designation is required by AGS as a prerequisite for the ICGA title.  These courses are primarily focused on the legal underpinnings of appraising and detail the laws and regulations with which an appraiser must be familiar in order to protect his client both from and during legal proceedings.  There is no re-certification requirement for maintaining the APPA title.

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GG (GIA)

GG (GIA) is the highest gemological title conferred by the Gemological Institute of America.  It is earned by the completion of the courses in Colored Gemstones, Colored Gemstone Grading, Diamonds, Diamond Grading and Gem Identification.  In addition successful completion of the practical lab sections and practical examnations of the Diamond Grading and Gem Identification classes is required along with passing grades on the dozens of assignments and comprehensive examinations for each course.  This is strictly a gemological designation indicates demonstrated expertise in the identification and grading of loose diamonds and gemstones.  GIA doesn’t teach appraising or appraisal theory so just because someone is a GG (GIA) that doesn’t mean they can or will competently appraise your jewelry.  There are no re-certification or continuing education requirements for maintaining the GG (GIA) title.

American Gem Society
Gemological Institute of America Inc.
American Society of Appraisers
National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
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