New York
New York

MEET OUR FACULTY

GIA instructors are passionate educators who bring years of industry experience to the classroom. All are leaders in their fields, and all are dedicated to helping you gain knowledge, acquire skills and launch your career.

gemology

Edyta Banasiak

Edyta Banasiak

A mineralogist and gemologist, 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 gemologist in the Colored Stones Gem Identification department, where she earned her Graduate Gemologist® diploma. Currently a gemology 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.”

Sidharth Bhatia

Sidharth Bhatia

Sidharth’s interest in gems and jewellery started when he was young. Upon graduation from high school, he began working at Galaxy USA, where he specialised in the sale of fancy coloured diamonds. While at Galaxy USA, Sidharth earned his Graduate Diamonds diploma and graduated from Baruch College with a BA in Economics. His desire to learn and help others brought him to GIA in 2015. While working as a student support representative, he completed the Graduate Colored Stones programme (earning the Graduate Gemologist® diploma), and earned the Applied Jewelry Professional and Graduate Pearls certificates.

Cristiano Brigida

Geologist and gemologist Cristiano Brigida earned a PhD 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, the Italian Alps; and gemstone buying trips to Thailand, India, Madagascar and Brazil. Cristiano also taught the subject matter in public schools and research institutions, and is thrilled to be teaching it at GIA.

Brian Driscoll

After studying earth sciences in college, 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.

Francoise Greder

Fran holds a Bachelor’s in English from Nice University in France. She entered the jewelry industry as a sales associate at a jewelry store, and then enrolled in GIA’s Graduate Gemologist® program to acquire necessary knowledge and skills. Fran has been a gemology instructor with GIA since 2000.

Lisa Kennedy

Lisa holds a bachelor's of science in chemistry from The College of New Jersey. Her areas of study included solid state chemistry and the development and research of new thermoelectric materials. After graduation, Lisa worked as a sales associate in jewelry retail. She has been with GIA since 2014, holding the positions of staff gemologist in the fancy colored diamonds and gem identification departments. She is now thrilled to share her passion for gemology with her students.

Samira Mazloom

Growing up in a family of jewelers, Samira followed her family’s passion by earning a B.A in translation and jewelry design from Middlesex University, London. After graduation, she won multiple awards for her designs. Working as a buyer, gemologist, appraiser, designer and jeweler, Samira traveled 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.

jewelry manufacturing arts

Antar Hall

Antar holds a Bachelor’s of Science in marine and environmental science from Hampton University and a Master’s of Science in aquaculture from Virginia Tech. He learned the art of 3D modeling jewelry in 2007 while attending the Fashion Institute of Technology and working at David Yurman. At Yurman, Antar was fortunate enough to be mentored by some of the company’s top CAD artists. He also worked as a fulltime and freelance CAD designer for many top Manhattan- based jewelry brands including Alexis Bittar, Temple St. Clair, Ippolita, Verragio, Maiyet, and Henry Dunay. Antar also taught classes in Rhino at the Fashion Institute of Technology for six years. Recently, Antar was a winner in the White House’s first-ever 3D printed ornament design challenge, where his ornament was hung on a White House Christmas tree, and subsequently included in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

John Mastoloni

John brings 25 years of CAD/CAM experience and 15 years of jewelry 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 jewelry industry. During his time at M2 Systems, he became a certified training facility for Robert McNeel and Associate’s Rhinoceros and Gemvision’s Matrix CAD systems. John also has extensive jewelry production experience, and is extremely knowledgeable about the newest 3D printing and CNC milling machines.

Maria Tsangaropoulos

Maria brings more than 20 years of jewelry 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 jewelry. At Robert Baum, a manufacturer of men’s jewelry, she was responsible for quality control and managing contractors. At Iris Gold, Maria was lead designer for the firm’s Italian-styled collection. Maria earned a bachelor in fine arts-jewelry /metalsmithing from California State University in Long Beach, the Jewelry Design certificate from GIA, and served a four-year apprenticeship with a Dutch goldsmith.