GIA Education Attracts Diverse Students to Hub of Israel Diamond Industry

Skyline of downton Ramat Gan
Skyline of downtown Ramat-Gan, featuring the famous Israeli diamond center and the financial district surrounding it. Photo courtesy of Eldad Carin
Israel, one of the world’s leading rough and polished diamond trading centers, topped $5 billion in polished diamond exports in 2015. The four diamond towers of the Israel Diamond Exchange in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan have served as the hub of the Israeli diamond industry since the 1940s. The towers house 3,000 large and small businesses employing more than 15,000 workers. The surrounding area is a technology park where many of the industry’s innovations – such as laser cutting, computer-directed cutting, rough modeling and automated polishing processes – were developed. 
In mid-November of 2016, GIA instructor Ric Taylor traveled to the Ramat Gan offices of the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association Ltd (IDMA) to teach the Institute’s five-day Diamond Grading Lab class. The class brought together a diverse group of Israeli and international students with a range of experience from performing appraisals to buying and selling rough diamonds.
“While many of the students have been buying and selling rough for years, hands-on experience with the GIA International Diamond Grading System allows them to better understand the value of the diamonds cut from this rough. They were able to gain practical experience grading diamonds according to GIA standards and better assess the value of the rough they trade,” said Taylor. “Likewise, students who were already professional appraisers before taking the lab class were able to increase their knowledge and accuracy in grading the clarity, color and cut of the diamonds they work with.” 
One student from Sierra Leone, where the diamond industry is vital for the developing country, sought not only to better understand diamond quality but to explore a possible beneficiation project for his home country. His goal is to help educate those who mine and sell rough diamonds in Sierra Leone. The course enabled him to connect and network with members of the trade from not only the important diamond center of Israel, but also from around the world.   
“I earned my Graduate Gemologist diploma in Bangkok and now work in a numismatic shop with my husband; we are also auctioneers and buy heirloom jewelry. Since Tel Aviv is only a three and a half hour direct flight from Geneva, I took this as an opportunity to refresh my diamond studies,” said Julie Chaponnière, a Geneva-based gemologist who participated in the class. “GIA provides just the right combination of theory and practice. With this five-day lab class, I’m better able to assess diamonds that come to us without grading reports.” 
The class was sponsored by the IDMA and held in their offices in the Ramat Gan diamond district from Nov. 13-17, 2016.
Through a unique combination of hands-on training, one-on-one coaching and multimedia, students of GIA’s Diamond Grading Lab class learn techniques for grading diamonds consistently and accurately using a modern gem microscope and a jeweler’s loupe. By the end of the five-day program, participants are versed on GIA’s International Diamond Grading System™ and how it determines diamond value, the components of a GIA Diamond Grading Report, the most common diamond features, and how to operate gemological equipment. For more details about GIA education programs, contact us or call +1 760-603-4001.  

Kristin Mahan, AJP, is a manager on GIA's communications team.