As gem lovers we're interested in everything to do with gemstones, including gemology and mineralogy, the history of gems, and of course their cultural significance. We especially delight in the obscure corners of the gem world and nothing is too esoteric to escape our interest.
Recently we looked into an organization known as The Planetary Gemologists Association, based here in Thailand but with members around the world. Its purpose, we learned, is "to bring order and positive worldwide attention to the ancient science of Planetary Gemology, one of the 64 Asian arts that incorporate Vedic (sidereal) astrology, Ayurveda, and elite mineralogy." The association aims to "establish high standards of professionalism and expertise as requirements for membership, which will serve as a guarantee of integrity and excellence to the public."
Higher standards of professionalism in the gem industry is something we strongly support. Before Robert M. Shipley founded the Gemological Institute of America in 1931, few jewelers had any systematic knowledge of gemology, and the level of public trust in gems and jewelry was low. Today there are thousands of graduate gemologists and many internationally-recognized gemological labs whose objective reports help keep the industry honest.
So we were curious about the training and certification required by the Planetary Gemologists Association. The association will certify you as a Planetary Gem Advisor (PGA), a professional who prescribes the use of astrological gems to clients based on their personal horoscopes. According to the Vedic tradition, using the correct gems will enhance a person's health, wealth, power and popularity. However, it works by strengthening the strongest planet or planets in one's horoscope; prescribing the wrong gems, or inferior specimens of the right gems, can do significant harm to a person's life. So a Planetary Gem Advisor has a serious responsibility, not unlike that of a medical doctor.
The Planetary Gemologists Association requires candidates to pass a 63 question exam to earn a diploma as a Planetary Gem Advisor. The test is available online and the questions are multiple choice. Some of the questions deal with basic gemological knowledge (knowing that sapphire is corundum or that tsavorite is a garnet). Others require some specialized knowledge of Vedic astrology. Fortunately the test can be taken at your leisure and all the answers are available on the Association's website, so an hour of reading or some search engine queries should enable you to answer them. You must get 55 answers correct to pass. Then you send your completed test and a payment of $39.00 to an address in Bangkok to receive your diploma.
Candidates who are already certified as "mundane" gemologists can earn the "rare" Planetary Gemologist (PG) certification by passing the same test. The Association assures you that "the PGA & PG Diplomas serve as a guarantee of excellence to the innocent public."