The Gemological Institute of America has held a rough diamond evaluation course for artisanal diggers in Côte d’Ivoire.
The course helps fulfill a longtime desire of NGOs and some U.S. officials to have artisanal diggers, who often have no sense of the materials they are dealing with, learn more about diamonds.
The country’s minister of mines and U.S. ambassador to the Ivory Coast attended the class graduation.
The 5-day course was taught by Ric Taylor, GIA’s manager of global instruction, and was held in Abidjan, the country’s largest city, Sept. 15–19.
The institute also hosted a GIA Junior Gemologist Program workshop on Sept. 18 in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy, which introduced 18 students to the world of gemology. The program was introduced in sub-Saharan Africa in 2012, and has taken place in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa.
“By working with Ivorian officials and others in the industry, we can directly support artisanal miners and the development of the diamond sector as a whole,” said Brad Brooks-Rubin, GIA’s global director of development and beneficiation, in a statement.