History of the International School of Gemology and Robert James
The foundation of the International School of Gemology was established in late 1997 when Robert James was awarded status as an Allied Gem Tutorial Center for the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (known today as the "Gem-A" ), the world's oldest and most respected gemological organization. As a Fellow of the Gem-A, Robert James had demonstrated a high standard of gemological knowledge as well as the ability to teach that knowledge to others through a long, well established history with the Dallas County College District, the Okaloosa County College District and others where he previously taught courses in gemology. In 1992, Robert James founded the Caribbean Gemological Institute for the purpose of providing gemological training and support to the Caribbean island's jewelry industry, as well as providing support to the cruise lines who visited the various ports-of-call. During the 1990s Robert James taught gemology and sales training classes throughout the Caribbean islands, and wrote over 50 articles on jewelry and gemstone buying for travel magazines including Caribbean Travel and Life, Cruise Travel, PORTHOLE, and many of the on-board cruise ship publications.
In 2000, Robert James was hired as Senior Gemologist and Buyer for the Claims Division of USAA Insurance, the fourth largest insurance company in the United States. During the next 5 years he assisted with claims replacements, damage claim evaluation and Special Investigations Unit insurance fraud investigations in the various offices of USAA. During this time he earned several accolades from the company for outstanding performance and service that included developing several new features in the company Internal Operating Procedures relating to jewelry insurance. In 2004, Robert James passed the required examinations of the Texas Department of Insurance as a Property and Casualty Insurance Adjuster, becoming the only licensed insurance professional also holding the GIA Graduate Gemologist and the Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain diplomas.
As the recognition of his insurance education programs grew, Robert James began to receive requests to utilize his experience in gemology and insurance to establish an independent school for gemologists and jewelry appraisers. Of greatest need was a gemology / appraisal school that would provide high quality education but at a lower cost than the currently established gemology schools, who did not offer any appraisal program. It was based on these requests that Robert James began writing courses specific to gemology and jewelry appraisal, and directed at the needs of the jewelry industry to have a more cost effective education program in these areas. This marked the beginning of the International School of Gemology. At left is one of the early ISG gem identification classes at the Tucson Gem Shows.