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Gem-A Celebrates its Annual Graduating Class at Goldsmiths' Hall

Nov 7, 2014 10:59 AM   By Gem-A
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Press Release: The Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) celebrated the success of its students worldwide, with an annual ceremony for all graduates of its gemology and diamond diplomas on Monday,  November 3 at the Goldsmiths’ Hall in London. The annual event invited students from over 20 countries to celebrate the success of their studies with well-known industry names and fellow students from across the globe.

During the course of the evening, all passing students were honored with their diplomas, while special awards and prizes were gifted to students and members of the association who have made an extra  contribution to the association or the wider industry. In particular, awards were given to both Dr. Jack Ogden, fga, and Mary Burland, fga, who each received an honorary lifetime membership to the association for outstanding contributions to Gem-A over the years. Ogden's award was presented with respect to his outstanding commitment to historic research and the reinvigoration of Gem-A’s international reach, particularly in regard to North America, while Burland, who celebrates 50 years with the association this year, was granted an honorary lifetime membership for her outstanding work across all areas of the organization, particularly with regard to her contribution to The Journal of Gemmology throughout the years.   graduation

As well as honoring Gem-A staff members, the association gave special honorary fellowships to members of the industry who have made outstanding contributions throughout their career.  These were granted to Terry Coldham, fgaa, patron of The Gemmological Association of Australia (GAA), and Gaetano Cavalieri, the president of The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO). In similar fashion,  an honorary fellowship was presented to Gem-A's CEO, James Riley, fga, dga, as the first cross-association fellow of both the GAA and Gem-A.

In addition to honorary fellowships,  Gem-A  granted diploma by redemption to those people — usually from overseas — who have had a significant influence on the world of gemology over a number of years. This year, the board of trustees elected to grant two diplomas by redemption to Ulrich Henn of the German Gemmological Association and Edward Boehm of RareSource Gems, who followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, the great Dr. Gübelin, who became a Fellow in 1946.

Student awards were given to candidates who achieved an exceptionally high standard in a particular area of study. Awards and winners were as follows:

The Anderson Medal was awarded -- for the best set of papers of the year in the Foundation examination -- to Andrew Barrett, a distance learning student from Sliema, Malta.

The Anderson Bank Prize was awarded to the candidate who submitted the best theory papers of the year for the gemology diploma examination --  Dilyara Khabrieva, an evening student from London.

The Read Practical Prize was awarded to the candidate who submitted the best practical papers of the year for the gemology diploma examination -- Claire Ito, a distance learning student who works for the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California.

The Christie’s Prize for Gemmology was awarded to the best candidates of the year for the gemology diploma -- Keith Penton, the director of Christie's, and  Elie-Anne Caya, who studied at the École de Gemmologie in Montreal.

The Deeks Diamond Prize was awarded to the best theory candidate of the year in the diamond diploma examinations -- Ching Man Wong, who studied at the Asian Gemmological Institute and Laboratory (AGIL) in Hong Kong.

The Mok Diamond Practical Prize was awarded for excellence in the diamond practical examination,  sponsored by Dominic Mok of AGIL, Hong Kong, and handed to  Doerte Herold, a distance learning student from Switzerland.

The Bruton Medal was a particularly special award, which is given to the overall best candidate of the year in the diamond diploma examinations, and was awarded to  Andrea Von Allmen, a distance learning student from Switzerland.

The presentation of awards and prizes was followed by an address from special guest speaker, the CEO of Jewelry Television, Tim Matthews, fga, dga. Matthews, who also joined the ceremony as a gemology and diamond diploma graduate, spurred students with inspiring words about the future of their “journey within the industry,” and advised them to “be responsible stewards of their knowledge.”

Discussing his thoughts on the graduation ceremony, Matthews said, “I’m overjoyed to be part of this experience and to be asked to speak in such a great location as the Goldsmiths’ Hall has been a wonderful experience.” As mentioned in his speech to students, he went on to say, “this is not the end of the student’s journey, but the beginning and I think it’s important for students to be responsible with their knowledge and experience, making an important impact on the frontline of the industry. After all, gemology is not only about the beautiful products we deal with, but about the people and communities our industry supports across the world.”

Following the ceremony, students were invited for a drinks reception with members of  the industry and encouraged to network and make the connections that will lay the foundations for their future careers in the industry — a process Riley  sees as important as the graduation ceremony itself.  “We’re elated to be able to celebrate our students’ success tonight, especially those who have reached far beyond expectations. Although the graduation ceremony is a chance for students to mingle with their tutors and one another, it’s also an opportunity to start making those initial connections and laying the groundwork for a future career in the industry. We hope the graduation ceremony has given students this platform, and wish all our students all the best with their future endeavors,” Riley said.

For more information on Gem-A and the courses they offer, please visit the Gem-A website via

About Gem-A
The Gemmological Association of Great Britain, or Gem-A, a London-based educational charity, is the world’s longest established provider of gem education and a membership organization that forms an international community of gem professionals and enthusiasts. Gem-A seeks to serve the best interests of the gem and jewelry industries worldwide through its commitment to supporting gemological research and high educational and trade standards. For more information, visit  Follow us on Twitter: Facebook: and LinkedIn:

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