Editorial Gems & Gemology, Fall 2018, Vol. 54, No. 3

GIA’s 2018 Symposium:
Up and Away!

Susan Jacques

Since GIA’s first International Gemological Symposium in 1982, this event has served as a platform for advancing knowledge in the research and business sides of gemology. For three days, October 7–9, we celebrated the centennial of the incomparable Richard T. Liddicoat by hosting GIA’s sixth Symposium. Nearly 800 attendees from 36 countries gathered in Carlsbad, California, including more than 100 presenters and panelists.

We’ve prepared this special Symposium Proceedings volume of G&G to capture the insights and the spirit of this unforgettable event. Scenes from all three days and nights are shown in the photo montage scenes from all three days and nights are shown in the photo montage.

The Symposium experience began with a powerful opening session featuring The Music Paradigm. Audience members found themselves seated within a live symphony orchestra as maestro Roger Nierenberg offered dynamic lessons on leadership and teamwork. This performance was followed by an opening gala at GIA World Headquarters. On display at the campus were some extraordinary new exhibits assembled by the GIA Museum. This gala was the first of three evening social events for rekindling old friendships and creating new ones.

In the Symposium research track, 37 speaker presentations and 68 poster sessions covered seven important themes: colored stones and pearls, diamond geology, diamond identification, gem characterization, gem localities and formation, general gemology and jewelry, and new technologies and techniques. In the speaker abstracts and the poster abstracts, you’ll find a wealth of informative research summarized. An index of all the presenters appears in the back of the issue.

In a parallel program, classes taught by three professors from the Harvard Business School explored real-life case studies on authentic leadership, customer centricity, and disruptive innovation. Participants gained a deep understanding of these strategic concepts through classroom sessions and discussion groups.

The Symposium’s closing session, the Futurescape Forum, brought together six of the industry’s most influential leaders to forecast what lies ahead as technological breakthroughs, changing consumer tastes, and sustainability concerns continue to reshape the gem and jewelry landscape. You’ll want to read the recap of this lively and thought-provoking panel discussion.

This event would not have been possible without the thousands of hours of planning by the Symposium steering committee and the dedicated efforts of dozens of GIA volunteers, all of whom are recognized on the front and back inside covers of this issue. I am especially grateful to Kathryn Kimmel, GIA’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, for once again chairing the Symposium and bringing to it her own signature style.

To all those who came to Carlsbad to attend the Symposium, we simply cannot thank you enough for being part of this event. We hope that you came away from it informed and inspired to embrace the future of our great industry.

Susan Jacques is president and CEO of the Gemological Institute of America.