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My Life as a GIA AJP Student

Have a passion for jewelry? Want to learn more and don’t know where to start? As a newer member of the jewelry industry since I joined the Maejean team, I can safely say that jumping into the world of vintage jewelry is both exhilarating and a little daunting. There is SO much to learn beyond what a gem inclusion is or how to identify a genuine sapphire. That is why I’m so incredibly grateful that, at Maejean Vintage, I have the opportunity to build on the knowledge I learn on the job by taking courses online with Gemological Institute of America (GIA)!

GIA offers several programs for those looking to build on their jewelry knowledge, and you can set out to achieve anything from one completed online course about the very basics of jewelry, to a full degree in Graduate Gemology. MJV’s owners Laura Mae and Amanda Jean are both GIA Graduate Gemologists. In my case, I’m focused on completing GIA’s Applied Jewelry Professional™(AJP) Program, which consists of three online courses: Jewelry Essentials, Colored Stone Essentials, and Diamond Essentials.

AJP Required Courses:

GEM 110 Jewelry Essentials

GEM 120 Colored Stone Essentials

GEM 130 Diamond Essentials

There are many reasons you might want to take a GIA course, or to complete the whole AJP program! If you’re like me, and you’re new to the jewelry industry, this course provides some essential base knowledge about a variety of different kinds of jewelry that is invaluable when starting out in the industry. However, even if you don’t work with jewelry but simply have a passion for it, this is a fun way to build your knowledge and to find out if a career in jewelry might be right for you. The AJP program can be completed fully online and at your own pace. Students have three months to complete each course (I completed my first one in about a month and a half) and coursework consists of learning from online lecture presentations, taking notes, answering questionnaires, and completing a final exam. I found my first GIA course to be a wonderful, low-pressure online class to take in my spare time, and I’ve already learned a lot.

While I’m still in the midst of the program, I’ve already absorbed so much from the first course, Jewelry Essentials. One of the first things that I learned was about different precious and base metals, and how alloys are created to make different kinds of jewelry. I went on to learn about various ring settings, a multitude of necklace clasps, earring styles, and even watch mechanisms. I was given brief history lessons about the origins of some jewelry styles and short science lessons about the chemical makeup of various gems. There was even a section that gave an overview of several jewelry eras, which pairs perfectly with life at Maejean Vintage!

Applying online for this program at GIA was easy! After filling out a short application and setting up my student portal, signing up for my first course in Jewelry Essentials was as quick as a few clicks. Courses are available to start on Mondays, so I was able to choose a start date that worked for me. Each of the three courses in the AJP program is currently $250 USD, and other programs and courses can be found at other costs. Don’t forget to check out GIA’s financial assistance and scholarship opportunities!

Other Online GIA Courses Available:

(with some prerequisites)

GEM 220 Colored Stones

GEM 230 Diamonds & Diamond Grading

GEM 240 Gem Identification

GEM 149 Pearls

With Jewelry Essentials completed, I have two more courses to go before I am officially an Applied Jewelry Professional™! This month I’m diving into Diamond Essentials, which will cover GIA’s color and clarity grading systems, modern technology’s influence on diamond cuts, and more. I’m so excited for the knowledge I gain from this program to benefit my MJV team and our customers!

- Jess Lynne ❤️

Note: We are independant from GIA and this is not a paid promotion.

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