By Ashley Bailey
, Thursday, August 23, 2007
From GIA, Carlsbad, Calif. – After announcing three months ago that its Board of Governors had approved its global expansion plans, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) held a news conference in Johannesburg today to announce that GIA is planning to open a laboratory in that city and expand its educational offerings there as well.
Tom Moses, senior vice president, GIA Laboratory and Research, said that starting in early September, GIA will begin absorbing the laboratory operations of the Jewelry Council of South Africa (JCSA). The JCSA will continue to operate its other interests, but GIA will take on the JCSA’s laboratory functions.
Moses said, “GIA is making itself available to its ever-growing number of international clients. Our international laboratory business has grown significantly in the last decade and it is our desire to be more accessible to our clients. By being in key producing and consuming regions, we can better promote GIA standards, and shorten the distance between all our customers and ourselves.”
According to Moses, the JCSA’s current executive director, Leslie (Les) Milner, will become the director of the GIA Johannesburg Laboratory. Moses also announced GIA's timetable for full implementation of the new program.
In September, the JCSA lab will commence operating as a "take-in window" or "consolidator" for GIA and its customers, thereby joining the GIA Lab Direct Network. Submissions will be invited from Botswana and Namibia as well as South Africa.
In early October, an experienced team of JCSA laboratory diamond graders will visit the U.S. for intense training in the methodologies of GIA’s standards. They will then return to Johannesburg in late 2007 and be joined by veteran U.S. graders and management from GIA to begin an eventual establishment of full laboratory services.
In early 2008, GIA will formally open the GIA South Africa, Laboratory in Johannesburg. Although the Laboratory will offer services for all sizes and types of diamonds, colored stones, and pearls, the initial service done on site in Johannesburg will be limited to the GIA Diamond Dossier® Report, which covers stones ranging from 0.15 carats up to 1.99 carats. While other services are still under consideration, those items GIA is not presently prepared to service in Johannesburg will be shipped to the U.S. for work.
“In addition,” said Moses, “We believe GIA’s Education offerings can be very valuable both to the manufacturers and retailers here, and will provide additional opportunities for the local population. We currently offer classes locally; however, it is our intention to expand those offerings,” said Moses.
“We’ll also be working with organizations here to find opportunities to provide scholarships for deserving candidates.”
“We are very pleased to be joining the diamond community here in Johannesburg,” said Moses. “Southern Africa is an important location in the diamond industry with a long history and we believe GIA should have a Laboratory presence here, as well as Education, in order to better serve our customers.”
An independent nonprofit organization, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is recognized as the world's foremost authority in gemology. Established in 1931, GIA has translated its expert knowledge into the most respected gemological education available. In 1953, the Institute created the International Diamond Grading System™ which, today, is recognized by virtually every professional jeweler in the world. Through research, education, gemological laboratory services, and instrument development, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism. GIA can be found on the web at http://www.gia.edu/. Media queries contact: Laura Simanton 760-603-4112.