Classes & Courses


GemFest Asia, a seminar sponsored by the Gemological Institute of America, will be held Sept. 19-20 at the Hong Kong Convention Centre. The program will coincide with the Hong Kong Jewellery and Watch Fair.

Dr. James Shigley, GIA director of research, and Dr. Eduard Gubelin of Gubelin Laboratories will discuss the future of the jewelry industry in two morning presentations. A President’s Reception and an Alumni and Associates Reunion will be held in the evening. For details, call (800) 421-7250, ext. 208.

GIA also announced the International Gemological Symposium will be held June 21-25, 1999, in San Diego, Cal. Speakers and panels from around the world will present papers and discussions on diamonds and colored stone sources, synthetics, simulants, treatments, gem markets, global economics and challenges in addressing increasing market segmentation. The last symposium was held in 1991.

Gemological Institute of America, 1660 Stewart St., Santa Monica, CA 90404-4088; (310) 829-2991, fax (310) 453-7674.


The GIA Alumni Association will sponsor the U.S. speaking tour of distinguished British gemologist Alan Hodgkinson in October. Hodgkinson, the author of Visual Optics: Diamond and Gem Identification Without Instruments, will discuss diamonds, the practice of gemology in Scotland and the visual optics of gemstones.

Hodgkinson is a member of the Council of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain and is a jewelry consultant, designer, appraiser and educator. He lives in Glasgow, Scotland, and speaks regularly around the world.

The lecture schedule is:

  • Columbus GIA Alumni, Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 13.

  • North Texas GIA Alumni, Garland, Texas, Oct. 15.

  • Northern California GIA Alumni, San Rafael, Cal., Oct. 16.

  • Los Angeles GIA Alumni (first), Santa Monica, Cal., Oct. 17.

  • Los Angeles GIA Alumni (second), Santa Monica, Cal., Oct. 18.

  • Illinois-Wisconsin GIA Alumni, Chicago, Ill., Oct. 20.

  • Michigan GIA Alumni, Grosse Pointe, Mich., Oct. 22.

  • Washington, D.C., GIA Alumni, Bethesda, Md., Oct. 24.

  • North Carolina GIA Alumni, Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 27.

  • New York City GIA Alumni, Rego Park, N.Y., Oct. 29.

  • New England GIA Alumni, Boston, Mass., Oct. 30

For times and locations, contact Richard Drucker at (847) 564-0555, fax (847) 564-0557.

The Los Angeles GIA Alumni & Associates also recently established the Jeremy Scott Kragness Endowed Memorial Scholarship for students pursuing degrees in gemology. The scholarship is dedicated to the memory of Kragness, the son of David K. Kragness, president of the Los Angeles chapter. Tax-deductible donations can be made to JSK Endowed Memorial Scholarship, 1660 Stewart St., Santa Monica, CA 90404. Make checks payable to GIA.


Three presentations will make up the day-long seminar of the Southern California Chapter of the International Society of Appraisers, to be held Sept. 21 in Santa Monica, Cal.

Cos Altobelli of Altobelli Jewelers in North Hollywood will present an “Appraisal Update: New Information and Developments.” Appraiser James W. Coote will speak on “Warning Signs: What the Generalist or Residential Contents Personal Property Appraiser Needs to Know About Jewelry.” Antique jewelry historian and collector Christie Romero will present “Separating the Treasure from the Trash: Costume and Silver Jewelry.”

SCCISA, P.O. Box 8725, Universal City, CA 91618-8725; (310) 470-2176 or (714) 643-1745; fax (310) 577-2223.


De Beers has contributed $300,000 to the Gemological Institute of America’s Vision 2000 campaign for the fifth consecutive year.

Contributions to Vision 2000 support education, research, training, technological advancement, an information center and other projects promoted through the capital investment campaign.

“This is the largest single contribution to GIA’s capital funds campaign,” says Jim Littman, GIA’s director of development. The contributions were recently used to develop wall charts and a video to help identify fracture-filled diamonds and detect the difference between natural and synthetic diamonds, he says.


Just in time for its 30th anniversary, WOSTEP, the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program, moved to a new three-floor building. The new address is Rue des Saars 99, 2000 Neuchâ#-30#tel, Switzerland; (41-38) 29-00-30; fax (41-38) 29-00-35. After Nov. 9, the numbers will change to (41-32) 729-00-30; fax (41-32) 729-00-35.

WOSTEP has also scheduled new courses for fall, winter and spring at the new location. “Turning” and “Precision Timing” will be offered Oct. 7-Dec. 14. They will be offered again from January to March and March to June. The 20-week “Complicated Watches” course will be held from January to June and July to December.


The Brookfield Craft Center in Brookfield, Conn., offers several jewelry classes in its fall program.

Six- to eight-week classes beginning Sept. 11 include a morning class in “Jewelrymaking and Enameling” and an evening class in “Jewelrymaking.” Weekend classes include “Jewelry Repairs” Sept. 7-8, “Enameling” Sept. 28-29 and “Amulets and Talismans” Oct. 26-27.

Brookfield Craft Center, P.O. Box 122, Brookfield, CT 06804; (203) 775-4526; fax (203) 740-7815.


J.F. (Brook) Ellis is the new vice president of education at the Gemological Institute of America. He will oversee course development and other functions of the education division.

Since he joined GIA as vice president of operations in 1995, Ellis has focused on staffing, planning and international education. He is a former vice president of jewelry operations on Henry Birks of Canada and served for the GIA’s Board of Governors for 12 years before joining the GIA executive management team.


The International Gemmological Institute will conduct a course examining rough diamonds Oct. 14-18 in Antwerp, Belgium. The course will focus on identifying diamonds, synthetics, simulants and treatments, as well as sorting of clarity, sizes, weights and fancy shapes. Students will study theory, chemistry, crystallography and properties, as well as mining techniques and procedures in fashioning. Students will take a test the final day to receive the IGI Rough Diamond Certificate.

Contact the institute’s U.S. office at 579 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10017; (212) 753-7100; fax (212) 753-7759.


The Master Valuer(tm) gem and jewelry appraising workshops and courses will be taught in three cities this fall and early next year.

The first workshops will be held Oct. 16-18 at the Park Plaza Hotel in Toronto, Canada, in conjunction with the Canadian Gemmological Association Gem Conference. The second workshop will take place Jan. 29-31 at the Courtyard by Marriott during the gem and mineral shows in Tucson, Ariz. To register for either of these workshops, call Registrar Anna Miller at (713) 485-1606.

A five-day Master Valuer(tm) course will be held March 10-14 at Vancouver Community College in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. To register, contact Linda Devine, Vancouver Community College, Continuing Education, 250 W. Pender St., Vancouver, BC V6B 1S9; (604) 443-8380.

All workshops and courses cover gem and jewelry appraisal methodology, terminology, research and report writing. Students will engage in hands-on appraisal practice. There are no prerequisites, but enrollment is limited.


Oklahoma State University- Okmulgee will launch a gemology program this fall. The first two courses will discuss the fundamentals of gemology and diamond grading. Later courses will cover colored stone identification, jewelry appraisal and trade practices, and jewelry technology.

Graduates will earn a certificate of completion and membership in the OSU-Okmulgee Fellow of Gemological Science Alumni Association. The university also plans to develop a program leading to an associate-in- applied-science degree in gemology.

To get the program under way, Chatham Created Gems Inc., San Francisco, Cal., donated $40,000 worth of laboratory-created emeralds, rubies, sapphires and crystals for use in laboratory demonstrations.

Oklahoma State University- Okmulgee, Admissions Office, (800) 722-4471; jewelry department staff, (918) 756-6211, ext. 266.


The Drouhard National Jewelers’ School has opened in Columbus, Ohio. Five-day career courses are available in jewelry repair and diamond setting, advanced diamond setting, and design, casting and production. Call the school at (800) ONE-WEEK or (800) 663-9335.

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