July 15, 2004 – If you're a Gemological Institute of America alumnus, jewelry professional, or anyone involved in the jewelry industry, you're invited to join the soon-to-be-formed GIA Caribbean Islands chapter.
An organizational meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on July 23 on St. Thomas, at the Pilgrim Terrace Restaurant in Lytton's Fancy, located above Charlotte Amalie.
"We're trying to get jewelry professionals together," Waymon Arnold, who works at Diamonds International, said.
Arnold and Ivanne Farr, who works at Colombian Emeralds, are organizing the GIA chapter to be based on St. Thomas. Arnold said he will conduct a survey at the first meeting to determine where attendees work and what their levels of skill and education are.
He said he is amazed that, with such a long history of jewelry sales, St. Thomas has not has a GIA chapter before this. His estimate is that between 150 and 250 people work in the jewelry industry on the island.
Arnold said that a goal of the organization will be to host GIA courses that previously have been available only off-island. "We're trying to get a good pool of skilled labor from on-island," he said.
Gemological Institute courses lead to industry credentials that include the Graduate Gemologist, Accredited Jewelry Professional and Graduate Jeweler diplomas. The courses are intended to impart skills that will help jewelry professionals move up their career ladders.
Arnold said he is ironing out the details for an Accredited Jewelry Professional diploma course to be offered this fall in cooperation with the University of the Virgin Islands. Corporate sponsors are needed to provide scholarships for the GIA course, he said.
The Gemological Institute of America was established in 1931 to educate members of the gem and jewelry industry. It is headquartered in Carlsbad, Calif., but has offices around the world.
For more information, call Arnold at 774-3707 or 776-3880 or Farr at 777-5400, ext. 3072, or 775-0812.
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