Ottaway named GIA Museum curator

The Gemological Institute of America appointed Terri Ottaway as Curator of GIA’s Museum at the Institute’s world headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif.

Ottaway is responsible for coordinating acquisition, cataloging and exhibition of GIA’s permanent and traveling gem and jewelry collections, says Elise Misiorowski, director of the GIA Museum. Ottaway will also work closely with GIA’s Education department to ensure instructors and students take full advantage of the resources available to them in GIA’s permanent collection.

Ottaway, who holds a Master’s degree in Geology from the University of Toronto, brings more than 20 years of museum experience with her. For the past 22 years, she has worked in the Earth Sciences Department of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada. There she was involved in the concept, design and implementation of a 15,000 square-foot gallery of Earth Sciences. “I love gems. I love minerals. I have a great passion for them, and I think the instructors at GIA feel the same way,” Ottaway says. “I believe working together we’ll be able to convey our passions to the students.

While doing research for her graduate thesis at the Muzo Emerald Mine in Colombia, Ottaway became the first person to determine how the emerald deposits in Colombia were formed more than 150 million years ago. Her research made the cover of Nature magazine in 1994. She gives part of the credit for her discovery to GIA. “If it hadn’t been for GIA promoting gemology as a serious study, I wouldn’t have been able to study the Colombian emerald deposits for my thesis,” Ottaway said. “Initially my idea of doing a gem thesis in a geology program was rejected, but articles in Gems & Gemology at the time showed that serious work was being done on gem deposits.”

“Terri brings a level of understanding and knowledge of museum procedures to the curatorial duties here at GIA,” Misiorowski said. “In addition to cataloging the collection, she has been providing expertise and thoughtful assistance in putting together the policies and procedures for the Museum, and helping with exhibit planning and development.”