Well, it’s a bit of blowing my own trumpet, but it’s in the name of giving you, my brilliant customers, some extra reassurance. Before the summer, I passed my GIA Gem Identification module, the last part of my Coloured Stones qualification. This was a completely practical, hands-on module, which involved the identification of 500 stones. These came in boxes of 20, posted from the GIA. I had to fill out a worksheet, scan and send back to my tutor in the US and pass each worksheet before moving on to the next one. As you might imagine, this took a little while. One year, to be precise, of late nights, early mornings, scrambled brains and inspiration. I learned so much over this time, not just how to separate different stones, but how to tell a synthetic from a natural, and even what kind of synthetic. This has been especially helpful in giving me confidence to offer precious stones; rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Finally I had to sit an exam, with a proctor approved by the GIA; identify 20 stones. You’ve got 6 hours, and by the way, you’ve got to get them all right to pass. Yes, that’s right; this exam has a 100% passing grade. And I did it! I passed! First time! I am still reeling with joy! So I now have my Coloured Stones qualification and I am starting the last few diamonds modules, after which I will be a fully fledged Graduate Gemologist. Loving my studies!
It’s gem ID day today, and that means polariscopes and microscopes; dicroscopes and spectroscopes; loupes and colour filters and not forgetting my personal favourite – and arguably the most important piece of kit; the refractometer. Why all this? Well, as some of you may know, I have been working towards Graduate Gemologist status with the GIA, and I am currently on the Gem Identification element of the course. This is entirely practical and involves the correct identification of 500 stones. Yes, 500! Fortunately they come to me in neat little boxes of 20 and I am currently 400 stones through the course! Then at the end of it I sit a 20 stone exam which requires 100% pass. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, and it’s been a struggle finding the time to do it on top of running the business. But it’s been amazing so far and I’ve learned so much; it’s great to be able to not only separate one stone from another, but to be able to separate natural from synthetic and identify even what kind of synthetic, as well as treatments such as heat and glass-filling. I feel really confident now, and the main barrier to me stocking more precious has been removed. After this I justt have to do a couple of diamond modules and I should be a fully paid up GG with the GIA! The end is in sight!