Rapaport Magazine

School spirit

A look at some of the main learning institutions that focus on diamonds.

By Adrianne Sanogo

Image: Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

It’s no secret that diamond professionals expand their knowledge on an ongoing basis. Why? Because science and technology are always evolving. Diamond treatments and lab-grown diamonds are not only here to stay, but also becoming more challenging to detect.

Where can you enroll to increase your diamond expertise? Check out the following three institutions. Each one specializes in one or more areas of know-how, including the science, history and manufacturing of diamonds, as well as how to identify lab-grown stones and simulants.

American Institute of Diamond Cutting (AIDC)

This Florida-based school currently offers four diamond programs: beginner, intermediate and advanced diamond-cutting courses, as well as a rough-diamond grading course. The first three, when combined, give the student a firm foundation in self-employment, according to AIDC founder, director and senior instructor Nizam Peters. The fourth, meanwhile, equips students with the knowledge to evaluate and purchase rough diamonds, identify and separate natural goods from synthetics and simulants, understand and determine prices for both parcels and single rough stones, and distinguish between industrial- and gem-quality diamonds.

In addition to these programs, the AIDC “teaches the cutting and polishing of fancy colors, and we write our own textbooks,” Peters says. The institute is in the process of adding online rough-diamond grading courses to its offerings — pending approval from the US Department of Education — as its current one is in-person only.


De Beers Institute of Diamonds

The goal of the De Beers Institute of Diamonds is to create “natural-diamond champions all over the world,” according to Jodine Perrin, its director of education and training. A relatively new venture, the institute was created for and initially only available to De Beers staff. It now offers six courses to the public: two online, and four workshops.

The “Diamond Foundation” course, which I completed in May 2020, is the perfect place to start. I wasn’t certain at first if it could add to my graduate gemologist education, but I ended up valuing the insider knowledge I got from De Beers’ perspective on the industry. Other available courses specialize in topics such as the 4Cs, polished-diamond grading, and synthetic-diamond detection.


Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

As the creator of the 4Cs grading system and an international name in diamond and gem education, the GIA has a lot to offer in terms of diamond programs and courses, both in person and online.

For example, “a student taking the ‘Diamonds and Diamond Grading’ course at one of the GIA’s on-campus locations will develop in-depth knowledge of the 4Cs through hands-on practice,” says Brenda Harwick, the institute’s senior manager of on-campus instruction. “As the 4Cs directly relate to the value of the diamond, this insight will help an individual grade, buy and sell diamonds with confidence.” And the training isn’t limited to natural stones; students also learn “the characteristics found in today’s most common diamond simulants and laboratory-grown diamonds,” she says.

Among the institute’s diploma programs is the Graduate Diamonds track, which is well-recognized but far from easy, warns Harwick. “When someone earns a GIA Graduate Diamonds diploma, it means they are serious about their education. Learning from the world’s foremost authority requires a great deal of dedication and hard work.”


Article from the Rapaport Magazine - July 2022. To subscribe click here.

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