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Gemological Science International

Gemological Science International, GSI as it is commonly known, offers a wealth of services to gemologists, jewelers and aspiring jewelry designers. The company is known around the world for its efficient, effective services and training programs for students and members of the general public who want to learn more about the jewelry trade.

In this exclusive Mark Gershburg, Founder & CEO - GSI gives a fascinating insight into GSI activities and the diamond industry.

GSI has been successfully offering training to jewelry retails in various countries for some time. Tell us why this training is so important and what jewelry retailers' reactions are to your training workshops.

Modern technology has changed the jewelry industry a lot in the last few years. GSI not only offers refreshers courses on basic topics such as diamond grading and identification but also courses on examining clarity treated stones, identifying lab-grown diamonds and the use of gemstone treatment options.

By and large, jewelry retail companies and individual jewelry retailers are very happy with our seminars and classes. Fred Meyer Jewelers' president Peter Engel recently told us that he appreciated the fact that we tailored our course to meet his team's exact needs and that we provided helpful information on industry changes and recent technological developments in the jewelry industry. After a seminar done for a jewelry bazaar in Mumbai, the bazaar's vice-president noted that our training course provided the advanced information the jewelers needed to successfully promote their trade.

GSI has been conducting jewelry design workshops as well. Can you describe the importance of these jewelry design workshops? What design courses does GSI offer?

GSI offers free design workshops at local exhibitions as well as at universities. Our university courses teach students how to sketch and define various designs. We also help students learn to explore their creativity and host a question and answer time. Handouts of our exercise book are given out at no cost to help students practice the skills they have learned in our training session.

The free workshops we have offered at various exhibitions help people get to know jewelry design as a career option. We also teach basic skills in this field in an easy, engaging manner.

You have recently announced that GSI's Dubai Laboratory has received EIAC accreditation. Please tell us more about your accreditation and how it sets you apart from other, similar companies.

GSI's Dubai lab is the only international gemological laboratory in the UAE to receive EIAC approval. This accreditation is not only valid in Dubai but also throughout the United Arab Emirates. The EIAC approval process includes a rigorous audit that our company passed with flying colors. This shows that GSI is a leading expert in our field, one that our business partners and clients can trust both now and in the future.

Lab grown diamonds are expanding their market share in the diamond sector. Do you think it is time for 'consumer education' as there are already various training modules available for the trade, including from GSI? What is your take on this?

There is a need for consumer education on lab-grown diamonds. While some people are happy to pay less for synthetic diamond jewelry, there are certainly others who expect high-end diamond jewelry pieces to contain only genuine diamonds. However, we start with jewelers because even many of them cannot tell the difference between natural and lab-grown diamonds and other gemstones.

We've seen situations where jewelry companies and individual jewelry sellers can't differentiate between mined and lab-created diamonds. This difference means that, in some instances, customers may be buying lab-created jewelry rather than the real thing. GSI hopes to eradicate this problem - by providing sound educational services to the jeweler industry. This service can be successful by continuing to offer advanced laboratory testing services to weed out undeclared synthetic diamond jewelry.

Several companies are manufacturing and launching critical diamond detection equipment as well as grading equipment for the industry. Do you think the tech and machinery sector has come of age for the gem and jewelry industry? What is the future? Also, tell us something about GSI's technological involvement in the diamond sector.

GSI is heavily involved in the diamond sector. We provide well-rounded courses on basic and advanced topics ranging from design to grading to detection and coloring. At the same time, we currently examine millions of diamonds in our laboratories every single year, and that's not a trend that's likely to diminish in the coming years. As lab-grown diamonds become increasingly popular in the coming years, mined diamonds will become increasingly rare. This transition means that detection services will be in higher demand than ever. Interestingly as new labgrowing diamonds and coloring technologies come to the fore - GSI, and other, similar companies will need to develop new machinery and technology to continue offering cutting edge diamond analysis services.

Lastly, from an educationist perspective, what will be your advice to diamond companies keeping in mind the current slowdown in the sector?

Diamonds have been considered valuable for thousands of years, and that's not likely to change. Explosive growth in the lab-grown diamond industry will most likely push down prices. However, the truth is that people of all ages and walks of life - appreciate the beauty and genuine value that only mined diamonds can offer. I believe that genuine diamonds will still be in demand as expensive luxury items. At the same time, lab-grown diamonds will offer a greater variety than has been available before. Their relatively low price tag will bring new clients into the industry.