JCK Show: The American Gem Society took 500 Guests to school

The American Gem Society hosted a tour of its newly built laboratory and administrative offices on Friday evening. More than 500 guests attended the tour and cocktail reception. All were given the opportunity to drop notes or business cards into a time capsule to be opened in 25 years by AGS officials.

The new lab occupies 10,000 square feet, more than twice the size of the old lab. The new layout features a huge inventory control safe, indirect lighting over cubicles in the grading area, state-of-the-art color grade stations, a research and development area, laser inscription machines, and devices that detect synthetic diamonds.

Space in the administrative building is also twice that of the previous administrative area. Classrooms will house some Gemological Institute of America extension classes-courses for GIA instructors who live in Las Vegas so they don’t have to travel nationwide for instruction. Displays of gems, minerals, and gem equipment will be on display in the corridor outside the new library.

“This entire campus will be fully operational by mid-August this year,” said Ellen Lacy, president of AGS. “And we’ve raised 60% of the funds needed to pay for this $4 million project.”

Donors can buy tiles on the “Walk of Distinction” on the AGS campus. Jewelers, manufacturers, and associations all have purchased tiles-or mini-columns, in some cases-for donations ranging from $2,500 to $100,000.

The expanded campus was desperately needed by AGS. The group experienced a growth spurt from 1999-2001, with the number of employees increasing from 15 to 45. Additional staffers were needed in all areas of the organization, because more services are offered.

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