The American Gem Society has announced the retirement of longtime board member Christopher Bramlett. “Chris Bramlett has served the American Gem Society as a member of the board of directors for 15 years. It is with sadness, fond memories, and great respect that we announce his retirement,” said Craig Underwood, president of the American Gem Society board of directors.
Bramlett was born in 1938 and graduated from Wake Forest University in 1960 with a B.S. in chemistry. He served in the U.S. Army’s Critical Skills Program and was honorably discharged in 1969.
After receiving his M.A. and Ph.D. in chemistry, he began teaching at the University of Alabama in 1967, eventually serving as associate dean of the graduate school and assistant vice president for research. In 1977, he moved to East Tennessee State University where he served as vice president and professor of chemistry until 1981 when he became a partner in Starnes Inc., a North Carolina corporation that operated retail jewelry stores. In 1989, Bramlett started his own business, Christopher’s Jewelry Co., a corporation that owned and operated Christopher’s Jewelers in Concord, N.C. He served as president and owner until 2004.
During his tenure as chairman of the American Gem Society Gemological Sciences Committee he oversaw Fancy Cut Grade research that led to the performance-based AGS Diamond Cut Grading System. He began serving on the board of directors in 1989 and has served as chairman of the Education Committee and the Shipley Award Committee. He also held two offices at the state level: president of the North Carolina Guild of the American Gem Society and president of the North Carolina Jewelers Association.
Bramlett became a Registered Jeweler of the American Gem Society in 1983, a Certified Gemologist in 1984, and in 1985 he became a Certified Gemologist Appraiser of the American Gem Society. Additionally, he earned several certificates and a graduate gemologist diploma from the Gemological Institute of America. In 2001, Bramlett received one of the most prestigious awards in the jewelry industry, the Robert M. Shipley Award, which is given to one person each year who has been of outstanding service to the American Gem Society, given significant contribution to the science of gemology, and who exemplifies the high purpose, objectives, and ideals of the society in his or her own community.
Bramlett also was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for Higher Education, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was also a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists and served in many other organizations.