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Considering getting a GIA GG - opinions?

trailblazer7232

Rough_Rock
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Nov 4, 2013
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For the last couple years (since graduating from a decently known university with a broad business degree), I have worked in marketing at a business consulting firm. I'm rapidly realizing that business consulting is not my calling.

I'm playing with the idea of getting my GIA GG. I've loved gems for years, but gemology has only ever been a passing hobby.

So - has anyone made a similar career transition? Any hobbyist who have gone to get their GG's?

In terms of career path, I think I'd be interested in being a Staff Gemologist or building my own business. The traditional brick and mortar retail sales isn't particularly appealing.

Any thoughts? Anything would be helpful, even just a snapshot of what you do as a GG. I just know the current career I'm in just isn't for me. I can see the career paths listed on the GIA site, but I'd like to know what's realistic.
 

ecf8503

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 14, 2005
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The GIA AJP (Accredited Jewelry Professional) is an online 3 course program that contains some of the base courses for the GG. Why don't you start there and see what you think. That's what I did - still considering a GG myself, but not until the kids are a bit older. :)
 

trailblazer7232

Rough_Rock
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Nov 4, 2013
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Thanks for your reply, I'll look into that.

Is there any route with that other than retail sales? What do you do with your AJP?

Any pros or cons about the program you can share?
 

ecf8503

Ideal_Rock
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The AJP classes are educational, but having been around PS for so long I can say I knew most of it already. There is a lot of "how to sell" information, as I expected. But I enjoyed the experience, and if I ever decide to get a part time job in a jewelry store or something at least I have some credentials. In general, it was just for me. :)
 

athenaworth

Ideal_Rock
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It's HARD, very very hard, but it is exciting and rewarding. I do like ECF's idea of trying the smaller courses first because it really is a commitment. Test the waters first. If you can take a trip to one of their campuses. They usually have mixers trying to bring in students. It might give you an idea of the enormity of it all.
 

Sunstorm

Brilliant_Rock
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I did. I originally studied law at Berkeley and worked in the legal field in Europe for years, while I did like certain parts of it, the challenge and such, I always knew it was not for me. I was a much more creative person. I studied at GIA concurrently with Berkeley. I continued gems and jewelry back in Europe and changed careers, I still do some work in the legal field but only privately. Overall, I am very happy with my decision. It is also never a bad idea to have two degrees. As it has been mentioned, of course you can get a lot of additional info on PS that you will be never taught and it will also help you with your degree. A degree is never enough, you must do lots of additional reading, learning, practical experience. I think that working with gems and jewelry has to be a passion, a lifestyle, do it only if you love it but this is only my personal take on it.

I know someone locally who is one of the most successful jewelers in the city and he also studied law first.
 

Sunstorm

Brilliant_Rock
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Oh and BTW; I think having and developing contacts is crucial if you want to have your own business and otherwise too in this field, that and of course capital but you can make up for a lot of the capital with consignments from trust- based relationships. Still know that the reality is that it is very difficult and a big investment to establish your own business. I also work part-time as a consultant for a business. There are always possibilities if you have the dedication but you have to invest time and money and lots of energy as well. You will not succeed if you are not absolutely dedicated to this field.
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jul 7, 2004
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10,881
I guess it depends if you really see yourself going into the business. It is HARD and I'd say if you're working full time, kind of time consuming. It's also not even remotely inexpensive.
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 11, 2011
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I've taken a few of the courses for fun/education and have really enjoyed them. I haven't finished or attempted a career transition, so no advice there, but I have definitely found them worth it solely from an educational standpoint.
 

cflutist

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I completed the GIA Distance Education Gemologist program from 1986 - 1989 while working full time as a Software Engineer/Systems Analyst. Back then you had to complete courses in Diamonds, Diamond Grading (they sent you diamonds to plot and grade), Colored Stones, Gem Identification, and Colored Stone Grading based on hue, tone, and saturation. Had to pass a final exam for each class. The final for Gem ID is the infamous 20 stone challenge where you have to correctly identify all specimens using tools such as a refractomer, polariscope, Specific Gravity fluids (they don't use these anymore), spectrometer, dichroscope, etc. You get to test hundreds of gems during this class. I passed on the first try but have talked to others who tried multiple times.

For color stone grading you study hue, tone, and saturation of colored stones. GIA used to sell the Color Master, then a set of paddles to communicate color. This has been replaced by software such as Geme Wizard http://www.gemewizard.com

To receive my Gemologist (GIA) diploma, also had to pass a comprehensive final exam covering all 5 courses. To get my GG, I would have to go back and complete lab courses in Diamond Grading, Gem ID, and Colored Stone Grading, but would not have to retake the comprehensive final covering all courses. As a retired VP Software engineering and Project Management I have no desire to get my GG at this stage in my life.

I did this strictly for the fun of it. Back then there was no Internet, and no pricescope. I figured that if I could read Consumer Reports to buy a washer, I better know what I was doing before buying diamonds and gemstones. I started subscribing to Gems and Gemology, JCK, and National Jeweler. JCK would publish an annual salary survey. Unless you owned a store or was a famous designer, I noticed that the salaries for those working in retail pailed compared to what I was making. Thought it might be fun working in the jewelry business but knew that I wouldn't excel at it because I don't have the patience to deal with customers wasting my time.

If you are interested, go for it. I sure enjoyed it.
 

trailblazer7232

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 4, 2013
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38
Thanks for sharing all your experiences. Food for thought!!
 
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