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Scholarships Available to Attend Gemology Seminars

Aug. 14, 2006 – The Caribbean Islands Alumni Chapter of the Gemological Institute of America is offering scholarships and professional development grants to attend its training classes offered through the University of the Virgin Islands Community Engagement and Life-long Learning (CELL) program.
Organization President Ivanne Farr said Monday that people need to apply as soon as possible for the scholarships.
The classes are geared to help residents enter or to advance jewelry careers. "We want to have some home-grown jewelers," Farr said.
She said that before GIA started holding classes, jewelry professionals had to travel off island for career development training.
The "top instructors," Farr said, are coming from GIA headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif.
She said that people just getting started on their jewelry careers should take the accredited jewelry professional diploma course that runs Aug. 28 through Sept. 7. This "foundation class" costs $995.
The intensive course includes jewelry, colored stone and diamond essentials, and teaches students how to close sales, to translate diamond cut, to discover hot buttons for selling each gemstone, and to convert design and manufacturing knowledge into selling points, as well as integrating elements such as clarity, color and grading into sales,. Participants who pass the course will receive a GIA diploma.
Other classes include the GIA gem identification course from Aug. 28 through Sept. 1, which costs $1,195; there is a colored stone grading course Sept. 5 through 7, at $895; and a new diamond cut grading seminar on Sept. 8. The fee for that course is $50, but GIA alumni and Caribbean Islands Alumni Chapter members pay only $25.
The UVI CELL program began offering GIA classes two years ago. The Caribbean Islands Alumni Chapter formed in 2004 with the goal of providing jewelry education for its members and the community.
An appropriation of $50,000 for the scholarships from the Legislature will make the courses more accessible; the scholarships are available to U.S. Virgin Islands residents only.
To apply for the scholarships, call Amit Khemani at 774-3075; write to the organization c/o Beverly's at 11-12 Main St., St. Thomas, VI 00802; or send an e-mail to ciacgia@msn.com.
To register for the classes, call Debra Stevens at the CELL center at 693-1108, or visit the Web site at cell.uvi.edu.
For more information on joining the Caribbean Islands Alumni Chapter, call Farr at 775-0812 or Jamie Christian at 772-0383 or 514-1396.

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