1 January 2014 – Since this site was launched, we have received numerous inquiries. Here's a couple that are typical:
Guys, I am new to rockhounding etc and I'm considering learning gemology and lapidary art. Came across your page and I'm just totally confused about this James guy and where I should look for educational resources. Thanks!
I would love to learn more about the rock biz since my partner is a pretty good bench jeweler... The online thing was looking kind of good till I found your flame job on this guy. So tell me true, is the guy that bad or could I learn something there, or maybe he just pissed in your personal granola. If he is that bad where do I go? Thanks.
The reality is that studying gemmology is no different than other subjects. You don't become a doctor with a quickie online course costing a few hundred quid and you don't study to be a gemmologist in a similar fashion. Unless Robert James is your teacher and you are studying gemmology at the International School of Gemology.
Bloody hell! How does he do it?
Google "International School of Gemology" and you are greeted with the statement that this august institution offers "The world's finest distance education program for gemologists and jewelry appraisers".
He is correct, of course. Unless you completely ignore every other distance gemmological educational program in existence.
We must give him credit. That claim is David Koresh-ish in its grandeur. Which reminds us of something James once told an acquaintance: "If you're gonna be run out of town, make sure you're at the front of the parade."
Honestly, we cannot even imagine being run out of town, but it is apparently something Robert James has long planned for.
The James scam is simple. He issues people with "diplomas" while sweet-talking them into believing that, because there is no universal licencing authority for gemmological education, his diploma is as good as any. For novices, it all makes sense.
A good con man appeals to base desires. "Work from home and make thousands a week", "Buy this device and lose weight immediately", "Vote in your favorite politician and watch your problems disappear"!
To put it bluntly, Robert James is running a diploma mill. He offers eighth-baked instruction for a pence, hawking what he claims is "the finest caviar", and yet delivering cheap fish bait to his unfortunate students.
Some of Robert James' gemmology students have entered the gem and jewellery industry and have discovered the pseudo-science concepts like "dyefusion" and "old geezer" gemmology he taught them have been thoroughly debunked. Which leaves these unfortunate students with the realisation that they've been scammed. Like so many who have been conned, it takes time to grasp the reality.
We of the Gobsmacked Gang understand what it means to be cheated. It hurts, and that feeling is something we do not wish on others. This is why we do what we do. To spare others this pain.
So what is a prospective student to do? What about someone who wants to study gemmology and obtain some sort of recognised certification?
The reality is that, like everything else in life, there are no shortcuts. ISG promises dumbed-down education and a "diploma" at the end. They deliver on both. The schooling is dumb and they give you a scrap of paper at the end. While the former is worth a little; the latter is completely useless.
If studying gemmology is the goal, it would be far better to simply purchase a good book or three and read them carefully.
But we understand gemmology students need more. When they have questions, they need an avenue to obtain answers. There are a number of online free general resources that can help, including:
What none of these free resources offer is examinations and a "diploma" at the end. The reason is simple. They are not "study gemmology" diploma mills.
Teaching gemmology and issuing certification requires expertise, resources and integrity, none of which apply to Robert James and the International School of Gemology.
For those who do want to study gemmology with the aim of making this a career and wish to acquire certification that is generally recognized across the world gemmological community, here are a few of the major players:
The websites of these organisations feature a wealth of knowledge. The GIA has even made the entire archive of their award-winning journal, Gems & Gemology, a free download.
Thus when it comes to studying gemmology, there are alternatives, many absolutely free.
In addition to these resources, many countries have local gemmological associations
We are the Gobsmacked Gang, those who cannot believe the things that spring from the mouth of the International School of Gemology's Robert James, the Mr. Bean of the gemmological world. Please note that the Gobsmacked Gang has nothing to do with what appears to be yet another Robert James attack site FakeGemology.com, which is designed to hurt someone making an honest attempt at teaching gemmology. Once again, as is copiously detailed on our Files page, James reveals what an evil little spawn he is. We would pray for his soul, but there is no evidence he has one. Thus we suggest a career change. A man like this certainly belongs in the Trump administration.
"If I were to catch any of my ISG Registered Gemologists or Registered Gemologist Appraisers trying to pull the stunts that you are pulling on eBay, I would pull their diplomas, publicly expel them from the ISG, and personally make sure that they did not work again in this industry with anything but a broom in their hand."
— Robert James
"They [the insurance industry] do not take kindly to frauds being perpetrated on consumers."
— Robert James
Read about the Robert James eBay fraud in our article here.