Alumni Association

Don’t Miss Out on 2016 Continuing Education Recognition Program

Hands hold a blue-green piece of rough sapphire.
The 2016 Continuing Education Recognition Program covers Australian sapphires and opals, Montana sapphires, Tennessee mother-of-pearl, and much more.

Diamonds from Canada’s frozen Northwest Territories. Opals and sapphires from Australia. Traditional jewelry from India.

These are just some of the gems and jewelry you will learn more about as you travel with GIA field gemologists to the source in this year’s Continuing Education Recognition Program. Created for alumni who hold a GIA Graduate Gemologist or Gemologist diploma, the continuing education program includes a variety of engaging slideshows and animation, interactive self-testing, instructional videos and expert interviews, featuring the most up-to-date discoveries and research. The program is designed to help graduates stay up to date with the latest gem and jewelry news and information.

You will have continuous access to the entire program – including the assignments, GIA eLearning courses and previous years Continuing Education assignments and the multimedia archive – until the end of the calendar year. Each graduate who completes the Continuing Education Recognition Program will receive a certificate that displays their expertise and commitment to staying on top of gemological developments.

“The word is out amongst our graduates and corporate education clientele about the value and importance of this program,” says Kate Donovan, Alumni Relations manager. “Relevance is key in a competitive market, and this program gives GIA graduates the opportunity to keep up the standard of education they worked so hard to achieve. Having access to the entire gemological course data that new GIA students are currently using is invaluable.”

Be sure to sign up and complete all eight assignments by Dec. 31 to receive your Continuing Education Recognition Program certificate.


Assignment 2: Indian Jewelry

Assignment 1: The Diavik Diamond Mine

Richard Lebreton, head of the surface geotechnical engineering team at Diavik Diamond Mine, located in the Lac de Gras kimberlite field in the far, frozen reaches of Canada’s Northwest Territories, discusses the obstacles he and his colleagues face as they try to keep the mine structure safe and stable.

Assignment 2: Indian Jewelry

GIA gemologists visit Indian jewelry manufacturers and retailers to learn about traditional gem-setting, gold carving and enameling techniques; gain insight into the state of manufacturing in India; and see first-hand the continued demand for these traditional styles of jewelry.

Assignment 3: Australian Opal

A team of GIA gemologists visited Australia’s famed opal fields in 2015 to observe the locations where Australian opals, of the world’s most popular gems and one of the birthstones for the month of October, are found.

Assignment 4: Australian Sapphire

Australia is one of the world’s most prolific sapphire sources. GIA’s team of field gemologists visited sapphire mining operations to see first-hand where and how this precious gem is recovered.

Assignment 5: Colombian Emerald

Assignment 5: Colombian Emerald

Emerald, the beryl family’s most famous member, is treasured as the May birthstone. Among the world’s most prized emeralds are those that come from Colombia. Join GIA field gemologists as they visit this celebrated emerald source.

Assignment 6: Sapphire Mining in Montana

A team of GIA gemologists visit mining operations in Montana’s “Big Sky Country” to learn about sapphires mined there. Gold prospectors in the 1860s thought they were a nuisance (they plugged up their sluice boxes) – until Dr. George Frederick Kunz, of Tiffany & Co., determined them to be “sapphires of unusual quality.”

Assignment 7: Heat Treatment of Montana Sapphires

Chris Cooney, of Gem Mountain, Montana, explains the heat-treatment process to improve the color appearance of some Montana sapphires, which sometimes have a pale color or greenish, hazy cast.

Assignment 8: Tennessee Shell Harvesting

Assignment 8: Tennessee Shell Harvesting

A GIA team made a recent visit to the Tennessee River to learn about the mussels that live in its murky waters and the mother-of-pearl they produce. This is an exceedingly beautiful material historically used to make buttons and “kaku,” pearl-culturing nuclei. In Parts 1 and 2, you’ll learn about the health of this industry and the area’s mussel population.

Don’t miss this chance to learn more valuable and exciting information from GIA’s top experts. Find out more about GIA’s Continuing Education Recognition Program. You can also contact the GIA Alumni Association at (760) 603-4145 or email

Amanda J. Luke is a senior communications manager at GIA. She is the editor of the GIA Insider and Alum Connect and was the editor of The Loupe magazine.

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