MEET OUR FACULTY
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.”
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.
GIA Graduate Gemologist® Angelique Connelley has years of professional gem and jewelry industry experience including work at Hoover & Strong grading diamonds, testing colored gemstones, and preparing diamond and colored stone pieces for auction. Angelique has also been a product knowledge trainer and coordinating sales leader of the PANDORA® jewelry collection by JARED®. In addition to her GIA credentials, she holds a master's degree in Teaching and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Virginia Commonwealth University.
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.
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.
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.
Eduardo has held an enduring passion for the jewelry industry, which began with tutoring youth in metalsmithing courses in San Juan. Upon earning his GIA Graduate Gemologist® and Graduate Jeweler diplomas, he continued his pursuit of jewelry 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 jewelry 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.
jewelry manufacturing arts
As an experienced modelmaker and designer, Mary was an integral part of the team creating jewelry prototypes at the Tiffany & Co.® Jewelry Design and Innovation Workshop. Her collaborations in manufacturing jewelry with other CAD designers and project engineers were fabricated both by hand and for production. She has been a sales operations professional with Tiffany & Co.® and holds certificates in Supply Chain, Project, and Business Management in addition to her GIA credentials Accredited Jewelry Professional and Comprehensive CAD/CAM for Jewelry. 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 has been demonstrated through the pieces she has successfully translated from design ideas to finished jewelry. 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 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 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.