Hundreds of donors recognized at GIA’s Bahia celebration

Donors to the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) campaign to Save Bahia were honored at a Brazilian-themed ceremony Nov. 9 at the Institute’s Carlsbad, Calif.-world headquarters. More than 200 guests attended the event, which was held to recognize those who donated $1,000 to keep Bahia at GIA forever. A granite Bahia Donor Wall that bears each donor’s name was also unveiled.

Bahia—a 4-ft.-7-in.-tall, 602-pound quartz sculpture—was carved from a mammoth piece of nearly flawless transparent rutilated quartz found in the Bahia region of Brazil, South America. Regarded as the world’s largest-cut gemstone sculpture—and the largest pendant—Bahia is suspended majestically in a metal frame in GIA’s atrium.

GIA’s atrium and Ocean Terrace were decorated with elegant, dramatic lighting as donors and guests arrived to the sound of live Brazilian music. GIA President William E. Boyajian introduced and thanked Glenn Lehrer, G.G., and Lawrence Stoller, the artists who created the gemological masterpiece. Boyajian unveiled the donor wall with the assistance of Ralph Destino, Chairman of GIA’s Board of Governors and chairman emeritus of Cartier, Inc.

“Bahia is a story of beauty and a dream come true,” said Boyajian. “I want to thank all of you who donated to GIA. Great effort went into creating the piece. It is the rock upon which GIA’s Museum Collection will be built.”

To date, more than 230 donors have contributed to the campaign. More names will be added to the Bahia Donor Wall as contributions are made. To make a donation to Save Bahia, contact Bev Ross at 760-603-4120 from outside the U.S., or 800-421-7250, ext. 4120 within the U.S. You can also e-mail her at

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