Alumni Association

2018: A Banner Year for GIA Alumni to Stay Connected and Informed

Seven people sit around a conference table.
GIA research scientist Dr. Ulrika D’Haenens-Johansson meets with leaders of the Korea chapter for a discussion on the latest information on synthetic diamond research. Photo courtesy of the Korea Chapter

A new year has begun with a promise to be better than ever for our graduates. GIA is committed to growing and serving our alumni community by continuing to share knowledge, develop and deliver education, and provide opportunity for our alumni throughout their careers.
The ability to benefit from your GIA alumni affiliation is easy, you must simply make the effort to participate. GIA provides countless opportunities to connect at tradeshows and GIA Career Fairs; stay informed via online and in-person delivery of education; or participate in the network of alumni chapters that serve the global GIA Alumni Association community. Each of these opportunities deliver the chance for you to grow your professional knowledge and network.

Your education should not end when you receive a diploma. Staying up-to-date, connected and informed is paramount for your success.

A man in a suit with a man in Masai tribal clothes pose together.
Robert Weldon, director of the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center, with a surprise guest – Mr. Ole, a visiting Masai tribal member in traditional clothing – at a San Diego chapter presentation on GIA’s beneficiation project to provide education to east African artisanal miners. Photo courtesy of Robert Gessner

Our alumni also have access to a variety of experiences and education events through GIA Alumni Chapters. Below is a list of the more than 25 chapter offerings just since November – delivered during and around the busiest season.

  • A Tucson Chapter Welcome was successfully organized by our newest chapter and was attended by local and visiting alumni and the GIA alumni team during February’s gem fairs. We congratulate the Tucson chapter on its first event.
  • A 32-Year Chapter Anniversary was celebrated by Golden Gate – California with a soiree in December. GIA extends our appreciation and thanks to this hands-on chapter and its committed volunteer leadership, loyal chapter members and each of the speakers who have delivered the extraordinary education presentations at chapter events through the years.
  • A Synthetic Diamond Update was delivered by Dr. Ulrika D’Haenens-Johansson, a research scientist at GIA, to members in Korea.
  • Educating Artisanal Miners, a GIA beneficiation initiative, was presented by Robert Weldon, director of GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center, to a full audience in San Diego. Attendees learned about GIA’s pilot program and Weldon’s visits to deliver education to miners in Tanzania. The event opened with a surprise visit from a Masai guest dressed in traditional clothing who shared a song and dance.
  • Mineral Complexity and Diversity was presented by Jeffrey Bergman, founder and director of Primagem, who shared his 40 years of experience in trading rare and unusual colored gems with the Houston chapter.
  • Selling Techniques for the Jewelry Industry was hosted by Monterrey – Mexico.
  • A Gem Study Group wrapped up the year for Twin Cities, Minnesota and concluded a year-long series of hands-on sessions for practicing gemology education.
  • A Night Among Gems, organized by Los Angeles, gave attendees the opportunity to view a special colored diamond exhibition at the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles.
  • Colored Diamonds, the causes and origin understanding, was presented by Thomas Gelb to Manhattan.
  • Colored Gemstones was a topic for multiple chapters at the end of the year. These talks featured industry notable speakers, such as Roland Schluessel who spoke about ruby, sapphire and emerald at Golden Gate – California; David Baker, the American Gem Trade Association’s Membership and Education Manager (AGTA), who provided an AGTA update to Houston; and author and educator Dr. Joel Arem, who shared his insight “From Collector to Commercial” with Washington, D.C.
  • Diamond and Gemstone Pricing was covered by two chapters. Diamond price factors and buying tools was discussed by Prashant Bhojani, manager of RapNet in Hong Kong, while “Valuing Ruby, Emerald and Sapphire” was presented by Richard Drucker, president and CEO of Gemworld International and Dr. Cigdem Lule in Houston.
  • A Gemologist’s Journey through Madagascar was shared by chapter president, Michelle Rahm with Mile High, Colorado.
  • Social Gatherings and holiday parties brought Greater Cincinnati, Houston, Mumbai, South Florida, Toronto and Washington, D.C. alumni, students and industry friends together.
  • Brand Safety protection, advice and recommendations from Angel Ramos with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property was well received by members in Monterrey, Mexico.
  • Auction Insights were shared by Justin Rogers, an academic and senior jewelry specialist in London.
  • Gemology Tours and Excursions brought Mexico City members to visit southern California in February. The trip included stops at GIA’s World Headquarters and campus in Carlsbad, a visit to the world-renown gem and mineral collection at the Museum of Natural History Los Angeles, and a day tour and digging at the Oceanview Mine in Pala, California.
  • My Brilliant Life in Jewels was the featured presentation by renown colored gemstone trader Cynthia Renee, in Manhattan.
  • Jewelry History topics featured notable speakers Debra Finleon, GIA GG, who discussed “The Fascinating Life and Fabulous Jewels of Marjorie Merriweather Post” in Manhattan and Dr. Wilfried Zeisler, chief curator of Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington, D.C., who explored the history of the House of Fabergé.
Six people stand in line for a photo.
The Los Angeles chapter celebrated “A Night Among Gems,” a viewing of a special collection of colored diamonds on temporary display at the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles. From left: Aaron Celestian, associate curator of mineralogy at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; Kate Donovan, GIA manager of global alumni relations; and Los Angeles alumni chapter leadership: Charles Carmona, Maryanna Nagle, Evelyn Huang and Dave Bindra. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Chapter

Alumni News – Take Note

  • The 2018 Continuing Education Recognition Program is open for registration and the first module has been released. Developed by GIA to keep our graduates relevant and informed, the program offers eight interactive modules – released February through September – that cover mining, lapidary, jewelry manufacturing and more. Participants have 24/7 online access to the program and must complete all module activities before Dec. 31 to receive their 2018 acknowledgement of completion. For those who have not signed up, visit the Continuing Education page on our website.
  • Special Registration Extended to GIA Alumni – organizers of the fourth Mediterranean Gemmological and Jewellery Conference, which will take place May 18-20 in Budva, Montenegro, are extending a discounted registration for GIA alumni worldwide to attend.
A group of people in front of GIA in Carlsbad.
Mexico City chapter members visited GIA’s World Headquarters on a Southern California excursion. Photo courtesy of the Mexico City Chapter

Upcoming GIA Education and Networking Opportunities in Europe

Mark your calendars for these upcoming European trade fairs and GIA activities, including the first-ever GIA Jewelry Career Fair in Europe. We hope to see you at these events.

  • GIA Education, Laboratory Services and Networking Opportunities:
  • Baselworld (March 22-27) – Visit GIA representatives at our booth in Hall 2.0 for the latest news, education and instrument offerings and be sure to inquire about your invitation to join the GIA Reception in Basel on March 24. In addition, the GIA Show Service Laboratory in Hall 3.0 will be accepting colored gemstones for laboratory services, such as gem identification and country of origin report services for select colored gemstones. (Diamonds and pearls will not be accepted for reports during the show.)
  • GIA Gemfest Europe and Carat + Show, in Antwerp (May 6-8) – Visit GIA representatives for the latest information on GIA education, instruments and services. Also, join us at GIA Gemfest Europe, featuring a presentation by Tom Moses, GIA’s executive vice president and chief research and laboratory officer, on May 7. Additional details will be released by GIA as the date nears or on the Carat + Show website.
  • GIA at GemGenève (May 10-13) – GIA will participate in the first-ever GemGenève International Geneva Gem & Jewellery Show, in Switzerland. Visit GIA representatives for the latest information on GIA education, instruments and services and make the most of the GIA Show Service Laboratory available to accept and provide laboratory gem identification and country of origin report services on colored gemstones. Additional details will be released by GIA as the date nears.
  • GIA Career Fair in London
    GIA will host its first-ever Jewelry Career Fair in London on April 23. The opening panel, “Job Success in Today’s Marketplace,” includes Michael Asscher, vice president of Royal Asscher; Nadja Swarovski, executive board member of Swarovski; and Michael Wainwright, managing director of Boodles. The day will also offer opportunities for career coaching and recruiting from top U.K. and global firms.

    GIA Jewelry Career Fair is the gem and jewelry industry’s largest recruiting event. Whether you’re looking for a rewarding career or seeking to hire a qualified gem and jewelry professional, GIA Jewelry Career Fair is where opportunity happens.
  • GIA Symposium in 2018
    Registration is open for the GIA International Gemological Symposium, to be held in Carlsbad, California Oct. 7-9. Join industry members from around the globe at the sixth-ever symposium in GIA’s history. Visit the event website for an outline of the symposium experience and to register.
Two woman sit at table for a photo.
The Manhattan chapter hosted renown colored gemstone trader Cynthia Renee for “My Brilliant Life in Jewels.” Above, Cynthia Renee, left, and Michaelene Mason. Photo courtesy of the Manhattan Chapter

I have a feeling 2018 will be a banner year and we are off to a remarkable start! As seen from the commitment of our chapters that deliver valuable education and network events, as well as GIA’s extensive activities around the world, alumni support is there. It’s simply up to you to stay connected and stay informed.

Kate Donovan, GIA GG, manager of global alumni relations, has more than 25 years of gem and jewelry sales experience. Alumni can contact her here.