LOOKING TO THE FUTURE & PICKING THE WINNERS
One often-quoted thought on the importance of color – as in colored gemstones – is “what would the world be like without color?” Most people probably would respond “pretty drab.” In the same vein, it’s important to think of what the jewelry industry would be like without some of its major players.
We know what it’s like without a major company; we’ve all seen big names disappear. At first there’s a gap. But generally we adjust if only because others will be there to fill that gap.
But what if the organization is irreplaceable? You may say no one body is, and that’s probably true. But in the jewelry industry, a few truly come as close to being irreplaceable as it’s possible to come. Among them is the Gemological Institute of America.
Yet GIA is acutely aware that any body is vulnerable. Thus, while it’s proud of its achievements for the industry over the past 60+ years and while its commitment to the future remains strong, in its own words GIA is “facing an era when the challenges ahead will quickly outstrip resources.”
That must not be allowed to happen.
Just look at what GIA brings to the industry. Its education programs have prepared thousands of men and women for rewarding industry careers. To continue turning out its annual crop of graduates, however, GIA will have to create new courses, hire new teachers and devise new curricula. All this takes money.
GIA’s record in gemological research is unparalleled. In addition to teaching us about the structure, identification and care of gemstones, GIA has been in the forefront of research on synthetics and treatments. This research provides jewelers everywhere with valuable information that often is critical to their business success. It’s also often critical to sustain the industry’s good name in consumers’ eyes. And research costs money.
Then there’s GIA role as a repository of gemological knowledge. It maintains the largest gemological library and archive in the world, an abundance of information that is available to working jewelers and scholars. And libraries cost money.
It’s been about four years since GIA launched its ambitious Vision 2000 fund drive to raise money to pay for all the improvements and developments needed to sustain its full industry role. After a brief faltering, the drive is back in full force, and it’s one the industry must support. The alternative is unthinkable: a jewelry industry without GIA.