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October 08, 2018 3 min read

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the foremost authority on diamonds, colored gemstones, and pearls. The GIA is a world-class gemological institute with educational campuses and laboratories spanning many continents worldwide and is a leader in knowledge, research, standards, identification, and disclosure protecting consumers, businesses, and the integrity of our gem and jewelry industry.  

Some of GIA’s major milestones include:

    • 1931 Robert M. Shipley creates and opens the very first U.S. based gemology correspondence course
    • 1934 GIA patents the tried and true “jewelers loupe”
    • 1937 GIA patents the first gemological microscope
    • 1940 Richard T. Liddicoat joins and contributes to GIA and becomes known as the “father of modern gemology.”
    • 1948 The first Graduate in Gemology Diploma is awarded
    • 1953 Liddicoat and Shipley’s combined efforts makes the modern day 4Cs of Diamond grading and identification a universal standard in the gem and jewelry industry. Also the same year the very first diamond grading report is issued
    • 1982 is GIA’s 50th anniversary and to celebrate, they hold the very first International Gemological Symposium
    • 1988 GIA grades the famous 45.52 carat Hope Diamond, now on display at the Smithsonian
    • 1997 GIA opens world class global headquarters called the Robert Mouawad Campus in Carlsbad, California.

GIA currently has 10 international campuses and laboratories worldwide.

How many Symposiums have there been?

According to GIA:

“2018 will be the sixth. Prior Symposia were held in 1982, 1991, 1999, 2006 and 2011.”

Date and location:

Sunday, October 7th through Tuesday, October 9th 2018 in Carlsbad, California


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According to GIA:

“Symposium has revealed the discoveries, opportunities and insights that move businesses forward. Offering expert presentations, panel sessions and networking opportunities, Symposium unites scientists and business leaders to meet the challenges facing the gem and jewelry industry.”

"New Challenges. Creating Opportunities." is the theme of the 2018 GIA Symposium. Two parallel tracks are offered. GIA Research Track will feature oral presentations, panels and poster sessions of innovative research projects. The Harvard Business Track is where Harvard Business School (HBS) professors lead an exploration into the themesAuthentic Leadership, Disruptive Innovation andCustomer Centricityusing the famed case-study method employed in all HBS programs”

Why Soha Diamond Co. is attending and representing the laboratory-grown diamond industry?

The laboratory-grown diamond industry is approximately 1% of the mined diamond industry in terms of size and revenue. Though the future is bright for lab-grown diamonds and gemstones as demand and interest grow, there’s still much work to accomplish to facilitate its place in the market.

Many of the developments in research of the mined diamond industry have direct impact and strong correlation to the lab-grown diamond industry.

Because of its laboratory origin, many growers and retailers feel out of place and unwelcome in gemological circles. Even though you could argue that the re-creation of diamond above ground is among the most significant gemological breakthroughs of our lives, lab-grown diamond growers and retailers are historically and currently underrepresented or absent altogether at such symposiums.

As the co-founder of Soha Diamond Co., I willingly bear the responsibility of representing the outcast of all diamonds, the lab-grown diamonds, within the gem and jewelry industry.

With proper disclosure, representation, and education, lab-grown diamonds and colored gemstones have a place in our industry and in the place of our client’s vast collection of fine jewelry.

Our strategic decision to specialize in exclusively offering laboratory grown diamonds and gemstones has been well received in the marketplace, but has many challenges. As gemology is a sub-science of geology and mineralogy, lab-grown diamonds are an important and misunderstood sub-sector of the mined diamond industry. Without the mined diamond industry, there would be no such thing as a laboratory-grown diamond. Which is why we refer to lab-grown diamonds as “a different way to diamond.”

One could argue that fine jewelry featuring diamonds and colored gemstones can cost as much as a home or vehicle, but don’t have nearly the same level of consumer protections or required credentials in place in order to inspire confidence and education to shoppers. There are virtually no minimum requirements for a jewelry retailer to be educated, credentialed, or experienced in our industry. Trust, longevity, and goodwill are vital to our industry, which is why many generations of clients shop at their “local jeweler.” This is one of many reasons why the gem and jewelry trade is dominated by brick-and-mortar family jewelers. Like other major financial decisions in life, it’s vital to trust your educated, credentialed, and experienced jewelry retailer.

  • For additional information on the GIA’s history, clickhere.
  • For additional information on the 2018 GIA Symposium, clickhere