The Gem Lab I.C.G.A.  an Independent American Gem Society Accredited Gem Laboratory

The Gem Lab - I.C.G.A. is an American Gem Society Accredited Gem Lab and is one of fewer than 17, Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser firm members of the American Gem Society in North America. It was founded by Mark T. Cartwright, ISA CAPP, ICGA, CSM, APPA, GG (GIA) with the mission to provide accurate, unbiased, expert appraisals and gemological services to the public and businesses.

Mark began cutting gemstones as a hobby in 1965 and started making jewelry in 1973.  He was the owner of a Texas based fine jewelry design studio until 1995.  He then became the designer for a local fine jewelry store in Fayetteville where he worked until founding
The Gem Lab - I.C.G.A.  Mark has been appraising fine jewelry since 1983 and earned his Gemologist diploma from GIA in 1985.  He is currently a Certified Appraiser of Personal Property of the International Society of Appraisers, an Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser of the American Gem Society, a Certified Senior Member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, an Advanced Personal Property Appraiser of the Jewelers Education Foundation and a Graduate Gemologist of the Gemological Institute of America.

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

ISA CAPP is the highest appraisal designation offered by the International Society of Appraisers and was earned by completion of extensive educational requirements, a comprehensive examination, hundreds of hours of documented appraisal experience and the submission and peer review of both self-contained and summary appraisal reports.  ISA is the only appraisal organization exclusively focused on the appraisal of personal property.  There are, as of 2008, fewer than 20 appraisers in North America designated ISA CAPP with a specialty in Gems and Jewelry.  This designation must be “re-certified” every 5 years by passing a 5 hour examination, documenting extensive professional development credits and hundreds of additional hours of appraisal experience.

ICGA is the highest 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 every 5 years.  Further, the ICGA member must complete the 3 APPA 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.

CSM is the second highest designation offered and the highest designation currently held by any member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers; the highest designation, CMA, has never been awarded in the history of NAJA.  This designation was earned by the accumulation of “points” based on education and experience and the successful completion of a comprehensive examination on appraisal theory along with submission of a self-contained and a summary appraisal report for peer review.  Annual recertification is based on documented additional professional development credits.

APPA 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 recertification requirement for maintaining the APPA title.

GG (GIA) is the highest gemological title conferred by the Gemological Institute of America.  It is earned by the completion of the courses and practical lab sections prescribed by GIA along with passing grades on the comprehensive examinations.  This is strictly a gemological designation indicating expertise in the identification and grading of 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 recertification or continuing education requirements for maintaining the GG (GIA) title.

Mark T. Cartwright, ISA CAPP, ICGA, CSM, APPA,

Professional Experience

2001 – Present
            Sapphire Sky Inc. / The Gem Lab - I.C.G.A,
            Fayetteville, AR
            President, Gemologist and Appraiser for independent
            AGS Accredited gemological laboratory

1996 – 2001
            Underwood’s Jewelers, Fayetteville, AR
            Jewelry Designer, Certified Gemologist Appraiser for
            guild type jewelry store

1982 – 1996
             Sapphire Sky Jewelry, El Paso, TX
             Owner, Goldsmith, Certified Gemologist for custom
             design fine jewelry store

1974 – 1979
             El Gato Enterprises, Austin TX
             Owner, Lapidary, Silversmith for wholesale trade
             shop serving local jewelry artisans

1965 – 1973
             Amateur lapidary and silversmith

Education and Professional Development

2008    International Society of Appraisers
            Comprehensive report writing and peer review earning Certified Appraiser of
            Personal Property (CAPP) designation

2008    American Society of Appraisers
            Symposium: Practicing Before the IRS: A Guide for Personal Property Appraisers

2008   National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
           Conference: Appraising lapidary art, USPAP update, Properties & Identification of Pearls,            Investment Scam Appraisals (Presenter)

2008    Accredited Gemologist Association
            Core Courses update and comprehensive re-qualification examination.
            Certified Appraiser of Personal Property Appraisal Theory examination

2007    The Appraisal Foundation
            15 Hour National USPAP course and examination with passing grade

2007    National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
            Comprehensive Certification Examination & Appraisal Reports earning Certified Senior Member             status
            Conference: Choosing Markets & Market Levels, Arts & Crafts Jewelry, Ethics and Appraisal             Standards, Mogul Jewelry

2006    National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
            Conference: AGS & GIA Diamond Cut Grading, Appraisal of Jadeite, Visual Characteristics of             Treated Gems, Hallmarks & Trademarks, Appraising Branded Gemstones, Jewelry Materials             & Techniques Timeline

2006    International Society of Appraisers
            Core Course update and re-qualification comprehensive examination.  Certified Appraiser             of Personal Property examination

2005     American Gem Society
             Designated Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser Firm Member

2005     Jeweler Education Foundation
             Advanced Personal Property Appraiser course, Parts I, II, and III and comprehensive exam
             earning APPA designation

2005     Accredited Gemologists Association
             Annual conference devoted to GIA and AGS diamond cut grading systems & detection of
             HTHP & Irradiated diamonds

2005      National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
              Conference: Spectroscopy Workshop, Circa Dating Jewelry, Colombian Emerald Overview,
              Native American Jewelry Overview, Detection of Advanced Diamond Treatments Overview

2003     American Gem Society
             Gemology Update: Emeralds
             Gemology Update: Rubies and Sapphires

2001     International Society of Appraisers
              Comprehensive exam and sample appraisal report earning Accredited Member designation
              Core Course in Appraisal Methodology 101, 102 and 103, and final exams, in residence.
              The Appraisal of Antique and Period Jewelry and final exam, in residence.

2001      National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
              Earned Accredited Member designation
              Forensics and Expert Witness Course for Jewelry Appraisers
              Detection of Synthetic Diamonds & HTHP Diamond Treatments Laboratory Course

2001      Gemological Institute of America
              Completed requirements earning Graduate Gemologist (GIA) title
              Diamond Grading Laboratory (5 day laboratory course)

2000      American Gem Society
              Appraisal theory courses I and II
              Exam and comprehensive appraisal report earning Certified Gemologist Appraiser               designation

2000      Gemological Institute of America
              Gem Identification Laboratory (5 day laboratory course)
              Advanced Diamond Grading Laboratory
              Detection of Advanced Synthetic Gems and Synthetic Diamonds Laboratory

1995      Jewelers Education Foundation
              Professional Appraising Foundation Course, Level 1

1989      American Gem Society
              Course and Examination requirements earning Certified Gemologist designation

1985      Gemological Institute of America
              Diamonds course
              Colored Stones course
              Gem Identification course
              Comprehensive examination earning Gemologist (GIA) designation

1974      Glen and Martha Vargas School for Faceting
              Completed two week intensive course in gemstone faceting



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