Alumni Association

Alumni Members: Stand Out by Taking Advantage of Opportunities, Events

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Cincinnati chapter members gathered to learn about advancements in jewelry manufacturing from specialist and guest speaker Chris Glazer, who featured a review of 3-D scanning technology. Courtesy of the Cincinnati Chapter.

Summer time and the living is easy … at least for our alumni worldwide, because in my opinion, we work in the greatest industry in the world. When you have a passion for what you do, it simply is not work. You see this in industry members and alumni who light up when they begin to talk about what they do.

To quote E.M. Foster: “One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.”

I love this quote and can think of an extensive list of names of people in our industry whose passion proceeds them. They are industry beacons who draw us to them and inspire us with their drive to increase their expertise and knowledge and their reflection of integrity. The most remarkable thing about these people is that they measure or value their personal success by their ability to share their knowledge, act as mentors and provide service to the industry they love.

Some of these folks may be in our personal contact list and some may be on our get-to-know wish list. I suggest you put yourself out there and try to meet these beacons of the industry. Go to shows and approach an expert if you have questions, attend alumni events where industry leaders speak or attend, commit to continued learning by attending lectures and conferences. Each of these steps will help you grow your personal network of contacts and become that alumnus who stands out.

Be a person with passion. Leverage the interests that brought us all to this inspiring industry. Whether you are just starting out, in the twilight of your career, or somewhere in between, the connection we all have to GIA as alumni members and lifetime students bring us together with shared passion for an education and excellence. This is the foundation of the GIA Alumni Association.

I have highlighted alumni events below that have occurred since our last report in May and those that are on the horizon. Each activity is an opportunity to align yourself with others who share our passion for our industry. Please note the topics, speakers and locations of alumni activities that occur across the globe and take advantage of these opportunities.

Alumni chapter and GIA-hosted events are available for you to invest in yourself and become a GIA Alumni member who stands out.

A man stands to the left of a cardboard replica of Richard T. Liddicoat. A woman is on the right.
Global tradeshows provide the opportunity for alumni chapter leaders to connect with GIA in person. Above, Rong Julius Zheng, president of Shanghai chapter, left, and Kate Donovan, GIA Global Alumni Relations Manager, with a cardboard cutout of Richard T. Liddicoat on display in celebration of the centennial year of his birth at the JCK Las Vegas show. Photo courtesy of Rong Julius Zheng.

GIA Hosted Opportunities

  • 108th Gemstone Gathering – A lecture series organized by GIA Bangkok, featured “A Brief History of Colored Gemstone Faceting,” by Justin K Prim, gem cutter, author and lapidary instructor. Find out more details  on this event and future events.
  • GIA Alumni at JCK Las Vegas – The largest gem, jewelry and watch fair in the U.S brings more than 30,000 people together for commerce and comradery. The GIA Alumni Association and our members participated in a number of social events, including the Red Square Meet-Up and the Rocks the Bowl Party, and met up regularly at the GIA booth. Each of these were wonderful opportunities for our global alumni to connect as attendees and vendors and brought alumni members and industry friends from across the globe together.
  • GIA Career Fair New York – Provided a day of opportunity to all who attended and participated in July. From a dynamic opening panel of speakers and one-on-one recruiting and career coaching, this annual GIA event delivers a platform for the Institute’s student and graduates, industry leaders and the public to converge. This event helps ensure the success of our industry and its future. GIA has hosted GIA Career Fair for more than 25 years in New York and in California, and held the first-ever in Career Fair in London earlier this year. Visit the Career Fair website for more details.
  • GIA Advanced Synthetic Diamond Seminar – The first series of this new training program was held in Hong Kong in June and upcoming seminars will be held in Mumbai, London and Carlsbad. Read more in the press release.

GIA’s commitment to support our alumni chapters and members

Delivering a promise from GIA to expand benefits and grow support for our alumni network worldwide, the Institute arranged GIA speakers at seven global alumni chapter events since May:

  • Dr. Wuyi Wang, vice president of research and development, offered insight on laboratory developments, research conducted on synthetic diamonds, and the latest gem testing devices and screening services offered by GIA, in Macau and Taiwan.
  • Dr. James Shigley, Distinguished Research Fellow at GIA, and Brenda Harwick, GIA GG and senior manager of on campus instruction, delivered a synthetic diamond update and hands-on session, in Ohio.
  • Andy Lucas provided a GIA field gemology update and discussed recent expeditions to Greenland ruby mines and Ethiopia sapphire mines to alumni in San Diego and members of American Society of Appraisers (ASA) who were visiting GIA’s Carlsbad campus for an education opportunity.
  • Shelly Verwymeren, GIA GG and instructor, provided a synthetic diamond lecture and the opportunity to view natural diamond and samples of HPHT and CVD grown synthetic diamonds, in Wisconsin.
  • Crystal Nel and Elizabeth Bokaba, from GIA’s Africa staff, presented GIA Gemkids and shared tools available from GIA to step up your marketing game, to alumni in Tanzania.
  • Three members of the GIA Laboratory Gem Identification Department – Daniel Girma, Tyler Smith and Jessica Jasso – provided a lab update for Manhattan.
Four women pose for a photo.
London alumni chapter leaders Lubica Micatkova, treasurer, (left), Sharon Dale, president, (second from left) and Eloise Mathieu, secretary (right) pose with Sarah Hue-Williams, guest lecturer (second from right) at the end of another successful London alumni chapter event. Photo courtesy of the London Chapter.


Recognizing Longtime GIA Alumni Leaders for Commitment and Giving Back as Mentors

The benefits of involving yourself in GIA Alumni activities or within your chapter as a leader, or otherwise, is immeasurable and it is FUN. Just ask any of the following volunteer alumni leaders. From life-long friendships, expanding business opportunities and staying relevant with up-to-date education in today’s marketplace, there’s a reason why these exceptional alumni leaders have remained actively involved with the GIA Alumni Association for more than 25 years – and continue to do so today.

Here are some former and present chapter leaders who provide valuable knowledge as presenters at our chapters:

  • Sindi Schloss (former president and residing president of the Metro-Phoenix Chapter) shared insight on “Estate Exotics” and the opportunity to find and appreciate the bead and gemstone necklace treasures of the past, in San Diego.
  • Richard Drucker (former president of the Chicago Chapter) delivered a colored gemstone pricing and treatment overview in Manhattan.
  • Suzanne Martinez and Starla Turner (former co-presidents and founding members of the Golden Gate Chapter) provided a historical review of diamond ring styles to Golden Gate, California.
  • Bill Korst (former chapter president and board member of the Michigan Chapter) presented “All About Garnets” at a gem study group and barbeque, in Michigan.
  • Note: many additional alumni leaders should be recognized here – their exclusion is simply because we are reporting on activities in the last three months – but we are no less appreciative for all of the folks who regularly serve as mentors, educators and volunteers in their chapters. To each of them, we thank you.
People sit around several tables and listen to a speaker.
GIA Alumni Switzerland chapter members enjoy an interactive refresher of gemological equipment use by presenter Guillaume Chautru, head of the gemology department at Piaget SA. Photo courtesy of the Switzerland Chapter.

Here is a list of additional chapter news and events that have occurred since our last AlumConnect issue, in May.

  • Social Gatherings brought Hong Kong, Houston, Louisiana, Mumbai, South Carolina and Toronto alumni, students and industry friends together for networking fun, as well as for the celebration of Monterrey-Mexico chapter’s third anniversary.
  • Hands-on Instruments Workshop by Guillaume Chautru, head of the Gemology Department at Piaget SA, led a fun, hands-on refresher on tips to make an expert assessment (as a gemologist) with the use of classical gemological instruments, to members in Switzerland.
  • Gemology Tours and Excursions included an annual Gemstone Safari visit to Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, for the pearl harvest by members of Mexico City, and a field trip to the Heard Museum to view a retrospective collection of one of the Southwest’s most noted jewelry designers Richard Chavez’s 40-year career by Metro-Phoenix.
  • Twenty-First Century Jade was the featured presentation by author, gemologist and lecturer Renee Newman, GIA GG, in Washington, D.C.
  • Lab Grown (Synthetic) Diamonds: Products, Perception and Reality was presented by Stanley Zale, VP of Diamonds & Gemstone Procurement, Stuller, Inc. to a full house, in New England.
  • Jewelry History topics featured notable speakers in multiple chapters. Jason Adams discussed the history, identification and evaluation of jewelry from 17th to the 20th century, to an attentive audience in Ohio.  Lauren Abramowitz, GIA GG shared “With Tiffany Blue, What Rings True?” an in-depth presentation on how to recognize legitimate Tiffany jewelry and products from the mass produced and custom-made imitations found in the marketplace globally, with members of Twin Cities, in Minnesota.
  • Advancements in Jewelry Manufacturing was presented by manufacturing specialist Chris Glazer, and featured a review of 3-D scanning technology, in Cincinnati.
  • Expanding Service and Improving Profits by understanding and providing services to re-polish and/or re-cut diamonds and colored stones to add value to your client’s stone or your company’s inventory, was a well-received topic in Michigan.
  • An evening with Sarah Hue-Williams, noted historian, author, gemologist and lecturer, shared insight and stories surrounding the sales of some of the jewelry that has passed through Christie's salerooms around the world and her involvement in extensive research for some of the most significant jewelry auctions of recent years, enthralling attendees in London.

Upcoming GIA Education and Networking Opportunities

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events and valuable education and networking opportunities:

  • GIA Symposium in 2018 – The date is quickly approaching for this extraordinary gathering of gemstone and jewelry professionals. Current registrations include representatives from 38 countries from across the globe and we hope you consider joining. Do not miss the sixth ever symposium in GIA’s history, and the opportunity to participate in this historical event. Registration is available for the GIA International Gemological Symposium, to be hosted in Carlsbad, California from Oct. 7-9, 2018. Visit the event website for an outline of symposium experience and offerings.
  • Tucson 2019 – Party at the GIA Gem Mine: India Odyssey: The date and the theme is set and the GIA team is actively planning the Alumni Association’s biggest event each year. Please mark your calendar to join us on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, for this annual gathering that brings alumni and industry friends together from across the globe. The night includes dinner, dancing and silent and live auctions and all proceeds benefit the Alumni Endowment Fund to support alumni benefits and programs worldwide. Visit the party web page to learn more.

I hope this overview of alumni activities has inspired you to get involved and benefit from the relationships and opportunities available through the GIA Alumni Association. As a global community, opportunity and education is there for you both digitally and in person, you simply need to make the effort to invest in yourself.

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.