For Your Staff:Product Education
Learning can be as easy as riding the train
Late nights. Hours of study. Something more to add to an already crammed
schedule. These are the nightmarish thoughts that ran through my mind when
I was approached about taking "Diamond Essentials," a new course
in the Gemological Institute of America's distance education program.
Thankfully, GIA anticipated my fears and those of others like me
and developed a fascinating course on diamonds I managed to complete
mostly during my train rides to and from work each day. In just 11/2 hours
a day for two weeks I completed the course and was ready to give my coworker
Robert Weldon, a graduate gemologist, a run for his money. It also left
me with a strong desire to continue GIA's distance education.
What To Expect
"Diamond Essentials" consists of seven reading assignments. A
videotape introduces the course and contains a 15-minute visual reinforcement
of each printed assignment. Assignments 1, 3, 5 and 7 have questionnaires
that you answer and send to GIA (via fax, e-mail or snail mail). Here's
a quick look at each lesson:
- Diamonds and diamond value, an overview of the 4Cs and explanations
of the anatomy of a round brilliant diamond, the difference between synthetics
and simulants and exactly what a diamond is. (The next four lessons examine
each of the 4Cs in more detail.)
- Carat weight, which covers how to weigh diamonds and how to measure,
estimate, round and express weights. You'll also learn about state-of-the-art
systems such as the Brilliant Eye, which uses computer technology to analyze
measurements, proportions and cut.
- Color. Learn how little buggers called trace elements cause color.
Also learn how the color of the precious metal that holds a diamond can
enhance its color important information when selling these beauties.
And you'll be able to solve the riddle of what happened to A, B and C in
GIA's color grading scale (these letters were once used without clear definition,
and some dealers started to grade their diamonds double A. GIA wanted to
start fresh without any association with the inadequate older systems,
so the GIA scale starts with D). Fluorescence, color terms and treatments
are discussed also.
- Clarity is affected by many things, including inclusions, the cutter's
abilities and treatments. You'll learn about refractive index and flash
effect, clarity grades and diamond plots, magnifiers and microscopes.
- Cut the precision of the cut and the quality of the polish makes
all the difference in a diamond's appearance. Keep a calculator handy for
a lesson on proportions, table size, angles and percentages. You don't
have to be a mathematical genius; GIA explains each step.
- This lesson explains the difference between durability, hardness and
toughness. This information is crucial when cleaning a stone. Did you know
an ultrasonic cleaner can shake diamonds loose from worn or damaged mountings
or damage fracture-filled diamonds?
- Diamond jewelry. You'll come away with a better understanding of why
people buy diamonds. You'll also know the difference between Victorian
and Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
Along the way, you'll read short stories about famous people, including
Cecil Rhodes, a major force within De Beers in the late 1800s, and Catherine
de Medici, an avid gem collector. You'll learn about famous diamonds and
read excerpts from the FTC Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals and Pewter
You'll need to achieve 75% or better on the questionnaires to take the
"Diamond Essentials" exam, which is offered at GIA offices in
Carlsbad, Los Angeles or New York City or by proctor at other locations.
Once finished with the course, you'll know all about the fifth C confidence
on the diamond sales floor.
Now take a few minutes to test your skills with the quiz Test
by Lorraine M. Suermann
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.