MEET OUR FACULTY
A mineralogist and gemmologist, Edyta received her Masters of Science in Geology from the Jagiellonian University in Poland. Her areas of study included hydrothermal processes and mineral systems. Edyta has been with GIA since 2013, holding the position of staff gemmologist in the Coloured Stones Gem Identification department, where she earned her Graduate Gemologist® diploma. Currently a gemmology instructor at the New York campus, she is happily sharing her passion and knowledge with her students. Inspired by her scientific hero, Albert Einstein, she follows the saying, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school”.
Geologist and gemmologist Cristiano Brigida earned a Ph.D. in mineralogy and petrology at the University of Milano, Italy. While working in the field of mineral applications and material sciences, Cristiano went on field expeditions to Mexico, Canada and the Italian Alps; and gemstone buying trips to Thailand, India, Madagascar and Brazil. Cristiano has also taught the subject in public schools and research institutions, and is thrilled to be teaching at GIA.
GIA Graduate Gemologist® Angelique Connelley has years of professional gem and jewellery industry experience including work at Hoover & Strong grading diamonds, testing coloured gemstones, and preparing diamond and coloured stone pieces for auction. Angelique has also been a product knowledge trainer and coordinating sales leader of the PANDORA® jewellery collection by JARED®. In addition to her GIA qualificiations, she holds a master's degree in teaching and a bachelor of arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.
After studying earth sciences at university, Brian worked at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Moving to New York City, he worked for GIA, and at the same time earned his GG. A member of GIA’s teaching staff since 2002, Brian also holds the distinguished Fellowship from the Gemmological Society of Great Britain.
Fran holds a Bachelor’s in English from Nice University in France. She entered the jewellery industry as a sales associate at a jewellery store, and then enrolled in GIA’s Graduate Gemologist® programme to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills. Fran has been a gemmology instructor with GIA since 2000.
Growing up in a family of jewellers, Samira followed her family’s passion by earning a BA in translation and jewellery design from Middlesex University, London. After graduation, she won multiple awards for her designs. Working as a buyer, gemmologist, appraiser, designer and jeweller, Samira travelled across the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Samira then earned a Graduate Gemologist® diploma from GIA's New York campus. She now brings her vast knowledge and experience to the classroom.
Eduardo holds an enduring passion for the jewellery industry, which began when he was tutoring young people in metalsmithing courses in San Juan. Upon earning his GIA Graduate Gemologist® and Graduate Jeweler diplomas, he continued his pursuit of jewellery and design knowledge by attending design schools in Madrid and Miami. He worked as an apprentice for various designers, including Luis Morais, and then became a product developer and production supervisor in jewellery manufacturing for Retail Store Services/JBA Ventures, where he designed custom pieces and collections. He later moved to New York City to join the GIA Laboratory as a Diamond Grader and was promoted to Training Specialist, training lab employees on procedures and coaching them to align to GIA standards. He brings his years of diverse experience and eagerness to help students succeed to his role as an Associate Instructor for the New York campus.
jewellery manufacturing arts
As an experienced model maker and designer, Mary was an integral part of the team creating jewellery prototypes at the Tiffany & Co.® Jewelry Design and Innovation Workshop. Her collaborations in manufacturing jewellery with other CAD designers and project engineers were fabricated both by hand and for production. She was also a sales operations professional with Tiffany & Co.® and holds certificates in Supply Chain, Project, and Business Management in addition to her GIA Accredited Jewelry Professional and Comprehensive CAD/CAM for Jewelry qualifications. She founded Mary Enright Jewelry and launched the ME Jewelry boutique store and gallery to showcase her handmade creations, and has received numerous accolades for her commissioned work. Mary’s knowledge of traditional goldsmithing techniques is demonstrated through the pieces she has successfully translated from design ideas to finished jewellery. She is excited to be able to share her experience with the students of GIA.
John brings 25 years of CAD/CAM experience and 15 years of jewellery design experience to the classroom. After graduating from Vanderbilt University with a degree in mechanical engineering, John spent the next 10 years designing airframe components for numerous aerospace companies using CAD. In 1999, he founded M2 Systems, which offered CAD/CAM services to the jewellery industry. During his time at M2 Systems, the company became a certified training facility for Robert McNeel and Associate’s Rhinoceros and Gemvision’s Matrix CAD systems. John also has extensive jewellery production experience, and is extremely knowledgeable about the newest 3D printing and CNC milling machines.
Maria brings more than 20 years of jewellery design experience to the classroom. She was the director of product development for Riva Manufacturing, where she oversaw the CAD engineering team and the creation of prototypes and samples. She had similar responsibilities when she worked at Paul Winston, a manufacturer of bridal jewellery. At Robert Baum, a manufacturer of men’s jewellery, she was responsible for quality control and managing contractors. At Iris Gold, Maria was lead designer for the firm’s Italian-styled collection. Maria has a bachelor's degree in fine arts-jewellery/metalsmithing from California State University in Long Beach and a Jewelry Design certificate from GIA, and served a four-year apprenticeship with a Dutch goldsmith.