The British Are Here … with New Courses

Gem-A, the new short-and-sweet name for the Gemmological Association & Gem Testing Laboratory of Great Britain, has announced the establishment of a U.S. branch. Anne Dale of Mandeville, La., the first director, will help Gem-A develop its education and Guild programs here. “Gem-A USA will concentrate on actively promoting gemological education,” says Dale. “Tutors are ready, and allied training centers will soon be ready here in the United States.”

Dale notes that Gem-A is moving forward with a new home-study gemology course. The new Gem-A Preliminary course—the first of two gemology courses—has been revised to be easier to use, says Dale. And exams, which in the past were the most feared of any gemological testing, no longer rely on memorizing numerical figures: The basic optical properties are provided during the exams. The courses are accompanied by two newly revised handbooks—Practical Gem Handbook and Gem Observation Guide. The books contain quick gemological references.

In addition to the gemology program, Gem-A’s diamond home-study course is now available to the American market. The course offers a comprehensive education on diamonds and diamond grading. Besides the traditional work-at-home study, the diamond course requires a six-day “practical” (hands-on work). The organization hasn’t established an allied training center in the United States yet, says Dale, adding that Gem-A USA also will need an inventory of diamonds for the practical. Students currently taking the diamond program are encouraged to travel to London for the practical, but Dale says, “We are working on this project.”

Successful completion of the practical, along with eligible membership, allows a student to carry the initials DGA—Diamond Member of the Gem-A. “They can still do the course and get a certificate,” explains Dale, “but to get the DGA initials they have to do the six-day practical.”

Dale studied under the late Antonio Bonanno and then earned her Fellow of the Gem-A (FGA) title in 1986. Her other credits include a Professional Gemologist (P.G.) title from the Columbia School of Gemology, and a Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) title from the Gemological Institute of America.

Dale’s goal is to involve all local trade organizations with the new British programs. No matter how you spell it, with one M or two, gemology all comes down to what you learn, notes Dale. “Gem-A’s belief is that we can have a more unified and supportive relationship with the trade through gemological education.”

Gem-A’s history dates to 1908. The Association offered the world’s first home-study gemology course in 1921, and its gemology diploma is one of the most highly regarded.

For more information, contact Anne Dale at 12 Saint Ann Drive, Mandeville, LA 70471; (985) 778-6246.