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yennyfire

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taken a GIA distance learning course? I'm really interested in getting some training with the goal of getting a job in a high end (i.e. not maul) jewelry store. I think this would be a great fit for me! I've spent some time looking at the GIA website. It seems that I could take a few courses via their distance learning program and then go to New York for a lab course (about 5 days). Is this a realistic approach or do you have another suggestion?
 

Jim Summa

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Hi Yennyfire,
Great Idea, I just looked into this for an employee in my store.
GIA offers, if my memory is right, beginning courses (Diamond Essentials, Colored stone Essentials) that you can use to "bridge" towards your GG, so you would not have to duplicate courses twice. Its pretty inexpensive way to begin also.
Give them a call to make sure and Good Luck!
 

yennyfire

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Thanks Jim! I'll give them a call. In your opinion, would a couple of GIA courses (probably diamond essentials and colored stone essentials to start) and a lab course be enough for an employer to consider hiring me? If not, what do you typically look for in a potential employee who will be assisting clients? Thanks for your time!
 

Jim Summa

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I would be very impressed with someone that puts that kind of effort into education, it would put them at the head of the line.
What I can add ( and I think you already understand) is to make education a part of your routine.

Another thing is that some Jewelers will pay some or all of their employees ongoing education, it will also tell you something about the way they are running their shop.

If you decide to take the course maybe you could post on PS some thoughts about what its like?
 

yennyfire

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Thanks for your thoughts Jim. I am definitely a big believer in onging education, in many different arenas! If I move forward with this, I will definitely share some feedback, though it will probably be late August (when my 4 and 6 year old are back in school) before I could start anything. I'm just collecting info at this point, trying to make sure I make an informed decision about what will best help me reach my goal.
 

denverappraiser

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I got my GG through the GIA distance program. It's served me pretty well. :)

That said, I'm not sure it's going to do what you want. Jewelry is a tough business to get into in the US these days becasue it's not exactly what you would call a recession resistant industry. Employers are looking for some rather specific skills and, assuming we're talking about showroom type of work (as opposed to back office acounting, manufacturing, security and other sorts of jobs that jewelers hire for), what they want is skill at SALES. They want personality, character, the ability to relate to customers and the ability to close a deal. Product knowledge is a distant second and, frankly, if you've got the former they'll arrange to train you at the latter. My suggestion is go get a job first and then move up from there. You may not be able to start at a store that's as fancy as you like until you've got some experience under your belt but experience is worth way more than a GIA class. Take the GIA class while you're working. They might even agree to pay for it. :)

Good luck and welcome to the industry.
 

yennyfire

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Vey good points Neil, thank you. It makes sense to go to a couple of the places I'd be interested in working and seeing if they're hiring, looking for an apprentice, etc. before I go and invest $$$ in this endeavor.
 

ecf8503

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Thank you for this thread, Yenny! I've had the exact same idea. :)
 

denverappraiser

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There ARE jewelers who are hiring, and there are lots of jobs in the jewelry industry that can use folks who are passionate about the product. I’m not trying to be discouraging about it but, at the same time, I’m a little annoyed at the GIA marketing that suggests that a few classes will qualify you for a career as an appraiser, jewelry store owner, bench jeweler or even a sales person. I’ve hired dozens of people over the course of my career, some of whom have been GIA trained and some of whom haven’t. I’ve paid for schooling for several while they were in my employ and shared in the costs for others. I’ve even contributed to funding scholarships for people I don’t personally know, just because I’m a fan of continuing education.

Nearly everyone in the industry started out at the bottom and advanced from there. The ‘bottom’ usually is on the sales floor but it also includes security, accounting, shop apprentice, web work, telephone work, couriers and many other things. It’s also worth noting that although the sales has some distasteful tasks and can pay poorly, it also includes the highest paid people in the store who are making a living talking about a product they love.

The path in jewelry and nearly every other industry goes like this:
Find a job.
Find a better job.
Find a career.

You can speed that up a bit by adding education to it but you can’t short circuit it and you can’t just jump to the end.

By the way, you mentioned an aversion to working in the ‘maul’. I warn you specifically about this attitude. The mall is nothing more or less than a building that rents space. Tiffany and Cartier both rent there as well as Zales and Kays. ALL of these have their place and it’s completely unfair to hold against them for the same reasons that it’s unreasonable to hold against the favored dealers here because they sell online. Each store deserves to be evaluated on their own merits or lack thereof, not their address.
 

yennyfire

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As always, you make very valid points Neil. I wasn't trying to imply that a jewelry store in a mall is necessarily a bad thing. There are a couple of really good jewelry stores in malls near where I live and from my experiences browsing at these shops, I'd be proud to work there. I was trying to say that I'd prefer not to work in a store where the only goal is to make a sale (and I get that it's the point of being in business), at the cost of everything else. I would find it hard to sell some young man a crappy stone when I know that he could do better elsewhere. So, I need to find a place that has good stones in all price ranges and help my client determine which "C" (after cut! :naughty: ) is most important to them.

I hope that I didn't offend anyone, as that wasn't my intention.
 

asscher_girl

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Hi Yenny!

I'm currently enrolled in the GIA GG program. I've taken the following classes through their distance ed program:
Diamond Essentials
Diamond & Diamond Grading
Colored Stone Essentials
Colored stones (should be finished with this one this month)

After I complete colored stones, I will try to do the lab classes over the next 2 years. There are 3 lab classes (2 are 5 days long each and 1 is 3 days). I don't want to take 3 weeks off in a row so I'm going to split them up. I live in CA so I'll do the lab classes in Carlsbad.

As for what I'm going to do w/ my GG, not sure yet.... I've been in sales (not jewelry) for 6+ years now and my industry is doing extremely well right now. A few very high end jewelers in my area are currently hiring but I'm not ready to make the switch yet because I know my salary is going to take a pretty large nose dive when I make the move. I'm still really happy that I've started the GG process, it's been a great way to learn about something totally different from my day to day life/work (I have a BFA in Interior Design) and now I'm more savy on diamonds and colored stones which can help me save money when shopping for bling! :Up_to_something:

Good luck! Keep us posted. Even if you just take Diamond Ess and CS Ess, those 2 classes are really inexpensive ($150 each) and a great way to get a feel for the program without wasting too much money.
 

yennyfire

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Thanks asscher girl! How exciting that you've taken these classes and feel like they've been of value to you. Can you give me an idea of how many hours per week you spend "in school"? I'm trying to gauge if I can manage this during the time my 4 year old is in pre-school. My hope would be to get a job when she starts kindergarten in the fall of 2012.
 

dreamer_dachsie

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denverappraiser|1306682055|2933120 said:
The path in jewelry and nearly every other industry goes like this:
Find a job.
Find a better job.
Find a career.
Neil, indeed this seems to be the path to any career! I see a lot of people forget this when they are young and starting out. They want to jump right in at the better job or even the career!

(Not directed at you, Yenny, you seem to know how things work! :)) )
 

shimmer

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I have taken the first course (diamond essentials) by distance learning and it got me my new job at a high end jewelry store! I do have three years of sales experience (not retail), but I think the main thing that attracted my employer was the dedication I have to the industry =)

The first few courses are inexpensive so I would go for it! My job is amazing, I cannot believe I get paid to play with jewelry all day long :appl:
 

yennyfire

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Thanks Shimmer! You are definitely going to be my inspiration! I'm so glad that you've earned such a wonderful opportunity.
 

asscher_girl

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You're welcome Yenny!

Each course has "assignment", at the end of each assignment you take an online quiz. I average about an hour per assignment - reading the assignment, making notes and then taking the online quiz. You don't have to purchase the books but I do because I like to highlight/make notes in them rather than reading it all online.

For Diamond Essentials, there were 7 assignments and I finished the whole class in 1 week.

Same goes for Colored stone essentials (that has 8 assignments) but took me a week.

For Diamonds and Diamond grading, that has 20 assignments and that took me 3 months (I think they give you 12 months to complete it)

For Colored Stones, it has 27 assignments, I think they give you 15 months and it's taken me a long time to complete. I was extremely busy last year with work so I didn't have much time for "class" so it's going to take me about 13 months for this one.

I bet you could get 1 to 2 assignments done every day that your child is in preschool.

Oh and for the larger classes like Diamonds & Diamond grading and Colored stones, you have to have the final exams proctored, the smaller classes, the final exams are online. My friend is a lawyer so I use her as my proctor.
 

yennyfire

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Thanks asscher girl, that was incredibly helpful and I really appreciate your taking the time to provide such detailed info. I am really excited to look into this and wish you well with your continued studies. :D
 

asscher_girl

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You're welcome Yenny! Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks so much for your well wishes :bigsmile:
 
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