Alumni Association

Don’t Miss Out on 2016 Continuing Education Recognition Programme

Hands hold a blue-green piece of rough sapphire.
The 2016 Continuing Education Recognition Programme covers Australian sapphires and opals, Montana sapphires, Tennessee mother-of-pearl, and much more.

Diamonds from Canada’s frozen Northwest Territories. Opals and sapphires from Australia. Traditional jewellery from India.

These are just some of the gems and jewellery you will learn more about as you travel with GIA field gemmologists to the source in this year’s Continuing Education Recognition Programme. Created for GIA graduates who hold a Graduate Gemologist or Gemologist diploma, the continuing education programme includes a variety of engaging slideshows and animation, interactive self-testing, instructional videos and expert interviews, featuring the most up-to-date discoveries and research. The programme is designed to help graduates stay up to date with the latest gem and jewellery news and information.

You will have continuous access to the entire programme – including the assignments, GIA eLearning courses and previous years' Continuing Education assignments and the multimedia archive – until the end of the calendar year. Each graduate who completes the Continuing Education Recognition Programme will receive a certificate that displays their expertise and commitment to staying on top of gemmological developments.

“The word is out amongst our graduates and corporate education clientele about the value and importance of this programme,” says Kate Donovan, Alumni Relations manager. “Relevance is key in a competitive market, and this programme gives GIA graduates the opportunity to keep up the standard of education they worked so hard to achieve. Having access to the entire gemmological course data that new GIA students are currently using is invaluable.”

Make sure that you have signed up and completed all eight assignments by 31 Dec to receive your Continuing Education Recognition Programme certificate.


Assignment 2: Indian Jewellery

Assignment 1: The Diavik Diamond Mine

Richard Lebreton, head of the surface geotechnical engineering team at Diavik Diamond Mine, located in the Lac de Gras kimberlite field in the far, frozen reaches of Canada’s Northwest Territories, discusses the obstacles he and his colleagues face as they try to keep the mine structure safe and stable.

Assignment 2: Indian Jewellery

GIA gemmologists visit Indian jewellery manufacturers and retailers to learn about traditional gem-setting, gold carving and enamelling techniques; gain insight into the state of manufacturing in India; and see first-hand the continued demand for these traditional styles of jewellery.

Assignment 3: Australian Opal

A team of GIA gemmologists visited Australia’s famed opal fields in 2015 to observe the locations where Australian opals, one of the world’s most popular gems and one of the birthstones for the month of October, are found.

Assignment 4: Australian Sapphire

Australia is one of the world’s most prolific sapphire sources. GIA’s team of field gemmologists visited sapphire mining operations to see first-hand where and how this precious gem is recovered.

Assignment 5: Colombian Emerald

Assignment 5: Colombian Emerald

Emerald, the beryl family’s most famous member, is treasured as the May birthstone. Among the world’s most prized emeralds are those that come from Colombia. Join GIA field gemmologists as they visit this celebrated emerald source.

Assignment 6: Sapphire Mining in Montana

A team of GIA gemmologists visit mining operations in Montana’s “Big Sky Country” to learn about the sapphires mined there. Gold prospectors in the 1860s thought they were a nuisance (they plugged up their sluice boxes) – until Dr George Frederick Kunz, of Tiffany & Co., determined them to be “sapphires of unusual quality”.

Assignment 7: Heat Treatment of Montana Sapphires

Chris Cooney, of Gem Mountain, Montana, explains the heat-treatment process to improve the colour appearance of some Montana sapphires, which sometimes have a pale colour or greenish, hazy cast.

Assignment 8: Tennessee Shell Harvesting

Assignment 8: Tennessee Shell Harvesting

A GIA team made a recent visit to the Tennessee River to learn about the mussels that live in its murky waters and the mother-of-pearl they produce. This is an exceedingly beautiful material, historically used to make buttons and “kaku”, pearl-culturing nuclei. In Parts 1 and 2, you’ll learn about the health of this industry and the area’s mussel population.

Don’t miss this chance to gain more valuable and exciting knowledge from GIA’s top experts. Find out more about GIA’s Continuing Education Recognition Programme. You can also contact the GIA Alumni Association on +1 760 603 4145 or email

Amanda J. Luke is a senior communications manager at GIA. She is the editor of the GIA Insider and Alum Connect and was the editor of The Loupe magazine.