The GIA Website Has an Education Section for Kids (and Their Jewelry-Pro Parents)



There are a lot of helpful resources being thrown at parents of school-age children in this time of pandemic weirdness. I know for a fact that there are many, many jewelry pros currently straddling the roles of parent-teacher and jewelry store owner, parent-teacher and designer/creative, or parent-teacher and brand/marketing specialist. One publicist I know, a mom of two boys, ordered an inflatable bounce house for her Manhattan apartment. Can you imagine?

I wondered if there was anything out there that did not involve DIY volcanoes, sensory bins, or daunting distance-learning lesson plans that could be more palatable to jewelry pro parents who find it hard to be pulled away from work that we love.

I’ve found it: The trusty Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has had  a microsite devoted to kids’ exposure to, and education in, gemology since 2014.

Called GIA GemKids, it contains plenty of content to capture the imaginations of curious youngsters with a passing interest in geology, world history, gems, and jewelry.

Which is about to come in handy right about now.

Like, immediately after you read this.

For starters, the site has a section devoted to all the careers in the gem and jewelry industry that children might pursue when they grow up. If you’ve ever had trouble describing your job to your kids, this is a great opportunity for sparking a show-and-tell conversation. Although I didn’t see a writer or journalist on the list, miner, retailer and jewelry historian are there, among many others.

While technically geared toward children ages 9–12, I definitely found some things that, with a gem- and jewelry-savvy parent’s guidance, could be fun for littles as well.

Starting with this awesome downloadable coloring book.

GemKids coloring book page
This is just one page of the coloring book file; there are four pages in the actual PDF, which focuses on types of cuts and shapes, in top and bottom views.

There’s also a pretty extensive visual glossary of terms touching on every aspect of the gem and jewelry industry, from geeky to glamorous. Who’s ready for a pop quiz?

GIA GemKids visual glossary
A visual from the glossary entry for Chemical Composition: “The unique combination of atoms that make up a material. In a mineral, it is like a recipe that makes the crystal grow a certain way.”

Plus, there are dedicated resources for teachers, a role that many of us are being asked to assume (on top of having a business to run), that include downloadable lessons on birthstones, gem and jewelry careers, and all things diamonds.

Cherry-picking the information gathered on the GIA GemKids site can also expose children to history and geography.

For example there’s a Find My Gem section, where kids can search for stones based on their birthday month, favorite color, and country of origin.

And a Jewelry Time Machine takes the young gemologist-to-be from prehistory all the way through to the Georgian and Victorian eras, the 20th century, and the present day.

Blackbeard, Catherine the Great, the Brothers Grimm, Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Montezuma’s Aztec empire, and other literary and world history allusions make the context of this educational journey particularly enriching. And this approach makes the whole experience a multidisciplinary one, consolidating several subjects into one informative lesson.

And that means more time for conference calls. (Or wine, as the case they may be.)

Top: Trying to home school? The GIA has some ideas for junior that most jewelry-pro parents will find helpful and engaging. It might even spark the beginning of a shared interest you can return to when the lockdown lets up (top left photo by Timothy Dykes via: Unsplash; bottom left via: Canva; and illustration via: vecteezy.com ). 

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All That Glitters writer