Alumni Association

Alumni Activities Advance the Legacy of the Gem and Jewellery Trade


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Attendees in London are crowned with jewels created by famed celebrity designer, Andrew Prince, second from right. Photo courtesy of the London chapter

Alumni across the globe participate in events hosted by our chapters, including social meet-ups and networking opportunities at industry trade shows and education opportunities provided by GIA. They are out in full force to support the trade by participating as panellists, recruiters, career coaches and attendees at GIA’s Careers Fair in New York and at the annual GIA Global Leadership Programme for gem and jewellery industry leaders at the Harvard Business School.

Here is a glimpse of some of the worldwide activities the GIA Alumni Association is pleased to share:

  • Chapters hosted more than 30 field trips, education and social gatherings in just three months.
  • GIA participated in 15 trade shows in China, Japan, India, the U.K. and U.S. This is a great opportunity for alumni and students to connect with GIA.
  • Alumni participation was strong at GIA’s Jewellery Careers Fair in New York, from veteran alumni giving back to the trade as programme participants to alumni attendees looking to start or enhance their careers by gaining knowledge of the industry and connections. Please Note: GIA’s next Careers Fair will be held on 10 Oct. at GIA’s World Headquarters in Carlsbad, California. 

Participation from our alumni has been remarkable and we thank you!

Brian Cook stands at a podium to the left of a big screen showing an image of an upheld hand with brightly coloured green and blue gems held between four fingers.
Speaker Brian Cook shares the “Thrill of Brazil” with this colourful image of Paraíba tourmaline gem rough at a London event. Photo courtesy of the London chapter

Chapter Activities

GIA speakers – Dr James Shigley, distinguished research fellow, provided an update on synthetic diamonds at chapters in Greater Cincinnati and Michigan; Dr Wuyi Wang, director of research and development and identification services, shared an overview on synthetic diamond growth methods, predominant manufacturers and identifying characteristics of both natural and synthetic diamonds in Malaysia; GIA provided a synthetic diamond update for alumni in Botswana; and members gathered for a presentation by GIA’s Robert Weldon on "Rediscovering Colombia's Chivor Emerald Mind". To read more on the topic, see Weldon's 2016 Gems & Gemology article.  

Meet-ups of global alumni and chapter leadership – Many attendees at the Las Vegas jewellery shows in June were able to enjoy multiple events to reunite with past classmates and network with and meet new alumni connections.

Second annual CalTech Gemology Lecture – The Los Angeles chapter hosted a sell-out event for more than 100 participants from southern California and beyond. The “Ametrine Adventure” was presented by Dr George R. Rossman, a renowned educator and professor of mineralogy in the division of the geological and planetary sciences at the California Institute of Technology. Rossman has authored or co-authored more than 320 articles on mineralogical and chemical sciences and is a former GIA Board of Governor.

Fine Watchmaking – Alice Leung, GIA GG and certified trainer of Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), shared her expertise with chapter members in Hong Kong.

Gold Mining in Colorado – The Mile High-Colorado chapter organised a two-part education event, including a talk by Tina Flemming, president of the Foothills chapter of the Gold Panning Association of America. This was followed with a day trip of gold panning two weeks later.

FBI: Security for the Jewellery Industry – An agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shared security tips with members in St. Louis.

Somewhere In The Rainbow – Curator Shelley Sergent shared a collection of outstanding gems and jewellery with members of the Middle Tennessee chapter.

Appraisal Methodology and Evaluation – Edward Lewand, GIA GG, ASA, AAA, a professional appraiser and noted expert, discussed this topic with members of the Washington, DC chapter.

Diamond Cutting Evolution and Demonstration – Scott Sucher talked about the evolution of diamond cut in St. Louis and Phillip Van Emmenis presented a diamond cutting demonstration and talk in Georgia.

Jewellery Design and Inspiration – Famed jewellery designers Fei Liu and Andrew Prince gave presentations to the London chapter. Liu, recognised for challenging the preconceptions of traditional jewellery design, shared his love for art and gemstones and described his transition from a student to an internationally acclaimed and award-winning designer. Prince – who has an impressive and loyal clientele ranging from stars of stage and screen, royalty, couture houses and institutions, including the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London – shared his professional journey as a creator known for the finest traditionally designed crystal jewellery in the world, including wedding tiaras, combs and bands, earrings, bracelets and more.

Jewellery History – Marie E. Betteley, GIA GG, head of Christie’s Russian Department in America and a leading expert on Russian jewellery, works of art and Fabergé, shared an engaging look at her life, career and experiences with the Golden Gate-California chapter. Lauren Abramowitz, GIA GG and jewellery expert, shared the history of Tiffany & Co. with the Golden Gate-California chapter. Elyse Zorn Karlin discussed the Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts (ASJRA) with members of the Manhattan chapter.

Fascinating World of Jewellery Auctions – Noted auction and jewellery historian veterans Monsieur Côme REMY (in Switzerland) and Joe DuMouchelle, GIA GG (in Michigan), provided attendees with an inside look at the exclusive world of jewellery auctions. (Alumni who have attended GIA’s annual “Party at the GIA Gem Mine” in Tucson, know DuMouchelle and his wife Lindy as our live auctioneers.)

Taiwan members share pride in their chapter at a recent trade fair. Photo courtesy of the Taiwan chapter

Social Gatherings – Alumni, students and industry friends gathered together to celebrate with the Malaysia, Monterrey-Mexico, Ontario-Canada and Switzerland chapters.

“Hands-On” Gemmology Study Groups and Industry Report – These events remain popular among all chapters, including a summer barbeque and “Beryl Study Session: Part II”, hosted by Minnesota-Twin Cities; and a coloured stone marketplace report by Kusam Malhotra, GIA GG and chapter president in Washington, DC.

Adventures in Mining, Localities and Gemstone Production – Gem expert Brian Cook captivated a London audience with a talk on Paraiba tourmaline and the “Thrill of Brazil”. Dacques Nini, GIA GG and president of the Houston-Texas chapter, shared experiences of personal travels to mining regions in Brazil, Burma and South Africa with San Diego chapter members.

Special Exhibition and a Museum Field Trip – Washington, DC members viewed the personal jewellery treasures of socialite Marjorie Merriweather-Post in the “Spectacular Gems and Jewelry” exhibit at the Hillwood Museum.

Five Things to Know about the Jewellery Industry Right Now – Michelle Graff, editor-in-chief of National Jeweler magazine, spoke to alumni and visitors attending July’s jewellery shows and events in New York.

Tucson Alumni Party 2018 logo

Alumni News – Take Note

Mark your calendars! We hope to see you at these global education and experience opportunities:

A Gemmological Discovery Journey to Sri Lanka 

The Taiwan chapter has organised a “Gem Discovery Journey to Sri Lanka III” tour to coincide with the annual FACETS Gem and Jewelry show in Columbo, Sri Lanka in late August. All interested parties should reach out to Taiwan chapter representatives for more information.

World of Gems Conference V

 The World of Gems Conference V, which will be held on 23-24 Sept. in Rosemont, Illinois, will include an impressive line-up of international gemmological experts and attendees. GIA speakers include Nicholas Sturman, from the GIA laboratory in Thailand and Al Gilbertson, a recent Antonio Bonnano Award recipient from GIA’s Carlsbad laboratory in California. The last conference hosted more than 200 attendees from 15 countries, including seven GIA Alumni chapter presidents in attendance. 

Alumni Party Tucson 2018 – Save the Date! 

We will celebrate Richard T. Liddicoat, the Father of Modern Gemmology, at next year’s “Party at the GIA Gem Mine” in recognition of the centennial year of his birth. All GIA alumni around the world have a connection to Mr Liddicoat – thanks to him and the efforts of GIA’s Bob Earnest, the “official” GIA Alumni Association was launched in 1982. Mark your calendars to attend the Art Deco-themed “Party at the GIA Gem Mine” on Friday, 2 Feb. 2018. This annual reunion, dinner dance and auction is organised by the GIA Alumni Association and is held during the gem and mineral fairs in Tucson, Arizona each year. 

You can help us make the celebration even better: 

  • Share Your Photo or Story: Please share your personal photo or story of Mr Liddicoat for potential use at the event or in additional celebrations. Email alumni@gia.edu
  • Auction Donations: The alumni office is encouraging early donations for the “Party at the GIA Gem Mine’s” silent or live auctions. All auction proceeds support the alumni endowment fund and provide scholarships and education opportunities across the globe. For more information, contact the alumni office at alumni@gia.edu.

The outstanding legacy of service and contributions of Richard T. Liddicoat and many others who have positively influenced our industry makes me ponder how each positive action made by any individual – either by making the effort to stay educated and up-to-date on gemmology; sharing their success and experience or providing mentorship; or so many other examples of paying it forward – helps ensure that current and future generations continue to respect the time-honoured careers in the gem and jewellery trade.

Though historically driven by nature’s beauty and design, the jewellery industry prides itself on a foundation of integrity, creativity and expanding global culturalism.

So I leave you with thoughts to consider as a GIA Alum: What personal actions have you made recently to pay it forward or advance your personal journey or knowledge? What will you do next?

Kate Donovan, GIA GG, manager of global alumni relations, has more than 25 years of gem and jewellery sales experience.