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advice on studying for a GIA cert

sushi

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Messages
221
Hello All,

I was wondering if I could ask for some advice. Im in my early 30's and Im feeling the need for a career change. I adore gems, diamonds, and jewellery and I have always had a pipe dream of designing my own items and having a brand. Anyway Im also fascinated by the grand jewellery sold at auction houses, so I was thinking that maybe I get my GIA, and try and get a job at one of the big auction houses in the jewellery dept.

I thought that by getting the GIA I would at least then understand everything better, and hopefully be qualified for the jewellery job in the auction house, and also hopefully prepare myself for one day being able to design. The only problem is that the GIA will cost about $20k USD i think, and as I have to start next jan, I wouldnt be qualified for a year from now.

I have a few questions regarding the GIA, and also job prospects/income after? What does the GIA entail? What courses do you recommend? Am I too old at 32 to do this? What kind of jobs will be on offer to me after completing it? What kind of salary would I be looking at?

Thank you in advance,

Sushi
 

sushi

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Messages
221
continued...

There is also the option of going down the intern route, which im not sure at 32 is possible. Im not sure if i would need to do this and/or get the GIA


any thoughts?
:D
 

maplefemme

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
874
My best advice would be to contact Sotheby's, Christie's, and Bonhams and ask.
When you say you want to work for a large auction house with gems, in what capacity?
As an appraiser? My family are fine arts antiques dealers and we work with these three houses often.
Many evaluators I know have fine arts degrees or art history as a major, etc. I'm not saying you will need that for a position there, but it depends exactly what you want to do.
I'd call them and tell them what you are going to take and what opportunities would be available to you after, if there's additional qualifications you will need.

I wish you best of luck in your endeavors!
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
3,219
Let the level of your passion be the guide! If you are truly passionate you can certainly achieve your stated goals. GIA is a great start on any career related to diamonds and jewelry. If you are determined to be in the jewelry business and you can afford to go out and take the course on campus, that's the way to get there the fastest. If you do the g.g. program you will have everything you need to start a career.

If you are unsure or cannot devote full time to it, you can do it by correspondence. Start with the AJP program, which is basically an overview of gemology. If you like it you can continue. If not, at least you have a marketable credential.

You also might want to send resumes to different types of jewelry companies. You might find that some support education and will pay for or subsidize your GIA studies.

Good luck!
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
8,087
I asked a similar question a year ago: the advice I got was, sales, sales, sales. I was told that a sales background was basically crucial to appraising, running an estate business, what have you ... anything in the jewelry biz. So I did the graduate diamonds course ... got a sales job ... and discovered I absolutely loathed it (not so much the sales bit, as that was fun, but the working-for-somebody part of it ... which may have been a function of that specific boss). So! I will pass along the advice I was given: try a sales job, or get the short-term mail-order weeklong diamonds course and then get a sales job; see if your employer will chip in for training; advance in your career. I wish you luck!
 

sushi

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Messages
221
thank you so much for the advice!

Ill see what I can do, but im trying to see if I can get an internship at Christies. Then at least ill know if i like it, really understand the day-to-day activities of the job, and also see if the GIA would be necessary.

Strangely enough I was offered a job yesterday with an auction company, but they organise charity auctions at events. While it is not what I want to do, I cant help think it might be good for the CV if I do try to go to Christies. But it isnt jewellery..

Anyway, if anyone would know suspected salarys in auction houses, or other jobs I would be qualified for, that would be a great help..


Thank you
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,790
My usual advice is to start with the job. There are lots of careers in the jewelry business and the ‘top’ is generally considered what you describe. The way to get there is with experience, connections and skills and where you get THOSE is on-the-job, not at GIA (unless we’re talking about working for GIA, which is a possibility). I agree with the above that nearly everyone in this industry started out in sales but there are paths that start out in manufacturing, mining, security, accounting and just about anything else that people can do. Pick a path ant jump on it. Don’t quit your day job so that then it doesn’t matter if you’re working cheaply or even free. Expand your choices from starting out at a top tier auction house and consider nearly everybody in the jewelry business and consider nearly every job. The employment path in jewelry looks like this:

Find a job
Find a better job
Find a career

That’s the way it works pretty much everywhere so if you’ve been down it before you know what I mean. You can speed it up a bit with a degree but you just can’t jump to the end. Another bright side of this approach is that, while you’re working at the bottom, you get to see what all those other people are doing. It’s not what you think but there are also a lot more options than you imagine and you may find your niche is somewhere completely different from what you think now. 32 is young and we can certainly use passionate young people but, at the same time, don’t quit your job and dive into GIA because being an appraiser looks like a kick in the pants. It is, but it’s a lot like work and mostly that work isn’t what they teach at GIA. I’ve been served pretty well by my GIA training and, for the right people, I definitely DO recommend it. At the same time there are a lot of folks who are struggling with step #2 in the above path for some other career path and are hoping that GIA is a short cut to high paying, sexy, clean new career somewhere else. It doesn’t work that way.

Sales, by the way, is underrated by career seekers in my opinion. It’s what we as an industry do. That’s why it’s valued so highly at every level. Manufacturers need to make things that SELL. Photographers need to take pictures that cause things to sell. Designers need to design things that sell. Most appraisal clients are either interested in buying something or selling something and THIS is the expertise they really are looking for. Management, accounting, security, mining, even education and web design all boil down to SALES. It always comes back to that. Not all sales jobs look like standing on the sales floor at the mall or answering phones for Blue Nile but a lot of them do and a lot of the industry veterans you see around here started out doing exactly that.
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
3,219
denverappraiser|1308314265|2948272 said:
Sales, by the way, is underrated by career seekers in my opinion. It’s what we as an industry do. That’s why it’s valued so highly at every level. Manufacturers need to make things that SELL. Photographers need to take pictures that cause things to sell. Designers need to design things that sell. Most appraisal clients are either interested in buying something or selling something and THIS is the expertise they really are looking for. Management, accounting, security, mining, even education and web design all boil down to SALES. It always comes back to that. Not all sales jobs look like standing on the sales floor at the mall or answering phones for Blue Nile but a lot of them do and a lot of the industry veterans you see around here started out doing exactly that.
Really great advice. No matter what you do, learn what professional selling is about. The best way to learn is to do it, especially if you can work around seasoned veterans who are passionate. But you should read about selling as well. There are many great books that teach the right ways to approach sales, and learning and developing your own style will be a skill that will translate, As Neil points out, almost universally.

I still think that anyone thinking about a career in jewelery will benefit by taking the GIA AJP program. And it can be easily done part- time by correspondence.
 

Modified Brilliant

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Messages
1,481
The corporate world mantra is "nothing happens until somebody sells something."

I grew up working in our family owned jewelry stores back in the 80's and got the best real world jewelry
experience....and you guessed it...it was ALWAYS about sales.
But working in the trenches is one of the best ways to gain product knowledge. You can touch, see, and ask questions.
 
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