Grading

Why AGS Is Closing Its Lab, Merging It With GIA

GradingOct 21, 2022

Why AGS Is Closing Its Lab, Merging It With GIA

CEO Katherine Bodoh said the merger will allow AGS to focus on its “original vision” as a trade organization and grow Conclave.

AGS CEO Katherine Bodoh (left) and GIA President and CEO Susan Jacques at “AGS Day” at GIA headquarters in Carlsbad, California, on Oct. 4. The organizations announced this week that AGS Laboratories will become part of GIA in 2023.
Las Vegas—The American Gem Society announced this week that it will close AGS Laboratories at the end of the year and merge its operations with the Gemological Institute of America.

The AGS Labs research staff, intellectual property, technology, and Las Vegas facility will be integrated into GIA, which will utilize the facility as a center for research.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

AGS Labs will continue to provide services until the end of 2022; it said it will contact clients with details of the transition.

In addition, a “client checklist” as well as a list of frequently asked questions about the lab’s closure is available on the AGS website.

AGS and GIA said they will combine their gemological research efforts to develop new products and services to protect consumers and support the trade, like light performance research and a science-based fancy cut grade standard—an avenue of research that is a “very active pursuit” at the lab, it confirmed recently.

The collaboration will allow AGS to focus on its retailer programs and additional member education opportunities, building up its signature event, AGS Conclave, event and exploring new possibilities for members, CEO Katherine Bodoh told National Jeweler in an interview Thursday. 

“As an organization, we’re constantly challenging ourselves about how we can exceed expectations for our members, how we can utilize the technology and tools available to us to do what we need to do,” she said.

“That journey led us back to our original vision as a trade organization while also asking how we can make the biggest impact and adjust that vision.” 

 Related stories will be right here … 

Robert M. and Beatrice Shipley founded both GIA and AGS in the 1930s. AGS launched AGS Labs in 1996.

With their shared missions for the trade and consumers, the two organizations have collaborated in the past.

“The wonderful thing about being founded with the same vision is that we’re both asking, how can we make the biggest and best impact for the industry, and it makes it easy to say what does that look like, how do we do something bigger than both of us?” Bodoh said.

AGS headquarters will remain where it is in Las Vegas, near the facility where GIA and the combined research teams will be located.

With the collaboration, GIA will create an endowment to support AGS and its membership through education and credentials.

GIA also will make the new AGS Ideal Report, which grades light performance, available as a digital-only supplement to its own diamond reports for round brilliant and fancy shape diamonds. 

This will combine the AGS Ideal Report with the four Cs grading from GIA. 

AGS’s popular cut grading system—which grades cut on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being “Ideal” and 10 being “Poor”—will remain with it. 

GIA said clients will be able to request the supplemental reports starting in January for an additional $25. 

More details about the “AGS Ideal Report Brought to You By GIA” will be available soon, it said. 

“By harnessing each other’s strengths to move forward boldly, consumers will be better protected, and we will ensure the longevity of the Shipleys’ vision,” GIA President and CEO Susan Jacques said in a statement from the lab. 

“I would like to thank the AGS International Board of Directors and the GIA Board of Governors for supporting this new phase in the close relationship between our two organizations.”
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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