Gemological Institute of America: Career Nurturing

5 Minute Read

HomeLearning CenterJewelry MakingGemological Institute of America: Career Nurturing
By José PintoMore from this author

The Gemological Institute of America, GIA, is the world's leading center of excellence for all issues concerning gemstones and pearls. For 75 years, the GIA has been dedicated to the task of providing serious, scientific gemological knowledge to the gemstones and jewelry sector as well as to the public. This also involves an internationally active study program for the sector's new blood and professional training measures.

Gemological Institute

Exterior view of the GIA Campus in Carlsbad, USA

Modern CAD workstations prepare the young talent for industrial jewelry design

The research and development of new methods for classifying gemstones and distinguishing syntheses and treated stones is a core role of the institute, which is based in Carlsbad, California. The GIA under Richard T. Liddicoat also first classified diamonds according to the famous four Cs which has now become an international standard. The international guidelines for classifying pearls (7 Pearl Value Factors') also come from this nonprofit making organization. Many processes for determining the value and genuineness of colored gemstones were developed in Carlsbad and given a practical application.

To ensure that this knowledge has a broad basis internationally, the institute has 14 schools including Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York and Taiwan. The GIA education program has an excellent reputation worldwide. Since the GIA was founded in 1931, more than 300,000 students have participated in courses and many managers in the sector started off with these courses. Last summer, a commission of the US Department of Education recognized the GIA as an outstanding school due to its quality of teaching and excellent service for students.

In addition to its taught courses, the institute has also been offering distance learning courses for the last 20 years. Evening classes are also offered at some of the schools. In addition to thousands of gemstones, modern equipment is also available for use during the training courses. From the fully equipped goldsmiths workshop to the CAD/CAM work stations and machines for industrial jewelry manufacture, all of the equipment required is available. Distance learning students can log on online and, for example, browse the books in the campus library. On the university campus in Carlsbad as well as other GIA study sites, there is also a multicultural atmosphere. Students come from various countries such as Korea, Thailand, China, India, Germany, Mexico, Japan and the USA. Some courses comprise students from 20 nations. This creates an inspiring atmosphere and contacts which last beyond the study period, proving very useful in the world of work.

Jewelry repair and the goldsmith craft…

…gemological analysis…

…gemstone processing and setting are among the disciplines taught at GIA edu

The courses focus on practical work. In this way, students on the Graduate Gemolologist Program learn how the design and craftsmanship of the polisher influences the value of a diamond. The GIA has developed a Diamond Cut Grading System to grade processing quality. Graduates of the course are better able to judge stones when making purchases and can clearly communicate the benefits to customers when selling. The GIA has recently expanded its training program and now offers its training to managers in the jewelry sector and jewelry designers as well as gemologists.

The Business School of the institute was launched almost three years ago. Here future managers learn business ethics, employee responsibility, marketing, business economics, international law - in short, everything they need to know for a career as a manager, entrepreneur or retailer. The course lasts for ten weeks and distance learning is also possible. Since October 2006, students have also been able to study here for their Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA).

The GIA Jewelry Manufacturing Arts Program teaches students industrial jewelry design. This begins with the initial jewelry designs in the form of sketches by hand and moves on to form design using CAD/CAM systems in 3D technology and ends with the transformation of the designs into mold production. The course is not about striking designs but focuses on wearable marketable jewelry design which can also be industrially produced. Graduates are awarded the Applied Jewelry Arts (A.J.A.) diploma.

Training to be a Graduate Jeweler (G.J.) covers all the skills required to produce and repair jewelry. This includes processing metals using classic goldsmiths techniques, laser welding and the setting of gemstones and pearls. The A.J.A. and G.J. diplomas can only be gained by taking the six-month course in Carlsbad. Other courses of study focus on the tying chains of pearls and stones, enamelling, setting stones, etc.

Training gemologists is among the core competencies at GIA

Future managers in the jewelry industry, in specialist retail outlets and in gemstone trading have been trained in Carlsbad for three years

Future managers in the jewelry industry, in specialist retail outlets and in gemstone trading have been trained in Carlsbad for three years

Training to become a gemologist is one of the core competencies of the institute. Graduates are able to identify gemstones, differentiate them from syntheses or processed stones and determine their value. The courses provide participants with a complete knowledge of diamonds and colored gemstones and participants are awarded the Graduate Gemologist-diploma (G.G.) upon completion. Those interested can also take a separate course in colored gemstones (Graduate Colored Stones diploma), diamonds (Graduate Diamonds diploma) or pearls (Graduate Pearls Diploma). Students who take these three courses - basic knowledge in gemstones, diamonds and jewelry - receive the Jewelry Professional diploma (A.J.P.). It takes six months to complete the course to become a qualified gemologist and generally in excess of 29 months for the distance learning courses. The courses on diamonds last seven weeks and 18 months for distance learning. In the case of the colored gemstones course, students attend for 18 weeks, or study for 22 months distance learning. The A.J.P program is only offered as a distance learning course either as a 35 day intensive course or a nine month study course. The pearls course too is only offered as a six month home study course. Graduates have numerous career opportunities at their disposal, including gemstone retailer, pearls dealer, manager in jewelry manufacturing and stone processing labs, stone dealer, sales manager in industry and specialist in auction houses.

The GIA does not leave its graduates to their own devices after the completion of their course. The institute's careers service helps them get into contact with industry and assists them with applications. Numerous companies from all over the world which are looking for specialists are listed in the GIA database. The institute also organizes regular job fairs.

by José Pinto

You assume all responsibility and risk for the use of the safety resources available on or through this web page. The International Gem Society LLC does not assume any liability for the materials, information and opinions provided on, or available through, this web page. No advice or information provided by this website shall create any warranty. Reliance on such advice, information or the content of this web page is solely at your own risk, including without limitation any safety guidelines, resources or precautions, or any other information related to safety that may be available on or through this web page. The International Gem Society LLC disclaims any liability for injury, death or damages resulting from the use thereof.

The All-In-One Jewelry Making Solution At Your Fingertips

When you join the Ganoksin community, you get the tools you need to take your work to the next level.

Become a Member

Trusted Jewelry Making Information & Techniques

Sign up to receive the latest articles, techniques, and inspirations with our free newsletter.