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, 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 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:

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, MGA, ASA, ICGA, APPA, CSM,

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

Gem Lab Services
Appraisal Services
About Us
Contact Us
Appraisal Basics
"Free" Appraisals
"What's It Worth"
Appraising the Appraisal
Appraisal Guide
Types of Appraisals
Consumer Information
Jewelry Estate Planning
Selling Your Jewelry
Insuring Your Jewelry
A Travellers Guide