Power of Product Knowledge

October 1998


Power of Product Knowledge

GIA introduces a new product-knowledge diploma program for sales associates. Those who complete the program earn the title accredited jewelry professionals. It was created for jewelers who need simple yet substantive training for their staffs

The Gemological Institute of America, long known for its highly regarded graduate gemology degrees, has announced a new less-technical product-knowledge diploma program for sales associates. Those who successfully complete all three courses in this core track for sales associates will receive a diploma and the title accredited jewelry professional.

Help for Retailers
GIA believes its reputation as a respected educational institution will lend a cachet to the sales associate diploma and aid jewelers in correcting the notion that they don't adequately train their staffs. GIA also hopes its new accredited jewelry professionals will help jewelers increase sales and keep them out of legal trouble.

The new Core Track includes the already released seven-lesson "Diamond Essentials" course (Professional Jeweler,February 1998, p. 52), plus the new eight-lesson "Colored Stone Essentials" and seven- lesson "Jewelry Essentials" courses. The diamond and jewelry courses cost $349 each; the price had not been set for the colored gem course at press time. The entire diploma curriculum will be offered for under $1,000, including testing, on-line and phone help, certificates of course completion and the diploma and title.

A Starting Point
Sales associates can use the Essentials program as a basis for continuing through GIA's more challenging gemology and jewelry courses if they so desire. Though the Essentials courses have been produced with the same educational rigor as GIA's graduate gemology and jewelry courses, they include far less scientific information, says Brook Ellis, GIA's vice president of education. The new courses don't leave out any essential information that's included in GIA's higher level courses; they just impart it more simply and in a less technical way. GIA designed these courses to be substantive without overwhelming a non-technical sales associate. Such workers might give up on a more technical course when the going got tough.

Course Development
The Essentials courses were developed by Ellis, who has an educational background, including retail jewelry store training experience; Wendy Graham, director of course development, who has a doctorate in educational program evaluation; GIA experts in gemology and jewelry; and professional writers. The aim was to consider how sales associates learn best and tailor the essential information to those needs.

Gemological Institute of America, (800) 421-7250, ext. 4001.

More Programs on the Way

GIA is putting the finishing touches on a third and even less-technical program than the Essentials courses, reports Brook Ellis, vice president of education. At press time, it was due to be introduced this fall and would be tailored to the brand new sales associate or holiday hires. Priced under $100, the course will stress the most basic information needed by any salesperson who will face the public.

GIA hasn't forgotten the needs of gemologists at the other end of the spectrum. Within a few years, it hopes to offer an advanced gemology degree for graduate gemologists interested in even more scientific information about gemstones. Stay tuned.



Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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