Education Updates: GIA, JA Make Online Certification Easy And Affordable (Even Free!); JA Convention Goes Virtual
Carlsbad, CA and New York, NY—Both GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and Jewelers of America (JA) are offering an opportunity for jewelry store employees and others to obtain educational certifications for free or minimal cost as the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic continue to affect both personal lives and businesses in the industry.
GIA is making all its Essentials online courses available at no charge for courses starting from May 4 through June 29, 2020.
This is an excellent time to earn the GIA Applied Jewelry Professional™ (AJP) diploma from anywhere with Internet access. The AJP® is earned by completing all three Essentials courses:
- GEM 110 – Jewelry Essentials
- GEM 120 – Colored Stone Essentials
- GEM 130 – Diamond Essentials
The offer is valid for first-time enrollments in Essentials courses from Monday, May 4 through Monday, June 29, 2020. Courses begin every Monday (except May 25, Memorial Day; classes will begin Tuesday, May 26.) Applicants who have previously enrolled and did not successfully complete the course will not be eligible to enroll through this offer.
To apply, visit GIA.edu/elearning-offer to learn more; this page also includes a link to the online application as well as offer details and restrictions. (Note: AGS Members will continue to receive a 10% savings on all other GIA eLearning courses.)
Meanwhile, JA is offering its certification programs for sales and management professionals online for the first time, for a nominal fee of $25 per exam.
“We have been working to get our certification programs online and we knew that now was the time. Jewelers have been using this forced downtime for education, enhancing their digital footprint and building for a solid business once their doors reopen. Certification is one more way jewelers can be better prepared for success tomorrow,” says JA president and CEO David J. Bonaparte.
JA’s Professional Certification Exam validates jewelry knowledge and proficiency to national standards. Certification is offered at two designations in two categories. The Certifications are all being offered for a limited time price of $25 per exam (marked down from $55 per exam) and include:
- JA Certified Sales Professional (CSP) Level 1: entry-level jewelry sales personnel with about one year’s experience.
- JA Certified Senior Sales Professional (CSSP) Level 2: moderate to advanced sales skills and knowledge of a jewelry sales professional. Completion of CSP Level 1 is required.
- JA Certified Management Professional (CMP) Level 1: entry-level jewelry management personnel with about one year’s experience; reflective of what is commonly needed to manage stores in a multi-unit operation.
- JA Certified Senior Management Professional (CSMP) Level 2: managers of independently owned stores, who must address concerns such as financing, advertising and pricing. Completion of Level 1 CMP is required.
For more information on certifications or to register, please click here.
Separately, JA on Tuesday announced that its second annual Jewelers of America National Convention, an education-focused executive forum open to jewelry professionals, will be held virtually and in late May, two months earlier than originally scheduled. The new dates are May 26-28.
“COVID-19 has completely shifted the way our industry is having to operate,” says David J. Bonaparte, JA president and CEO. “The decision to transition our National Convention to virtual was not an easy one to make. However, the education we had planned is extremely important for our members and we felt it was best to push the convention up to May with the hopes that business will be in full swing as soon as possible and retailers can focus entirely on their clients and stores."
JA’s virtual convention will feature many of the presentations that were already set for the July event. Sessions will be addressing the top issues shaping the jewelry industry, including: omnichannel marketing, social media, security, investment trends, and keeping up with retail evolution.
JA is proud to welcome back iconic political forecaster Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report. Cook will share his non-partisan and expert take on what may be one of the most critical and contentious election seasons ever. His is one of eight sessions taking place during the three-day event.
The full schedule and registration details will be announced shortly. The event is free for Jewelers of America members, including all personnel and staff, to attend. Non-members can take advantage of Jewelers of America’s limited-time free membership offer to gain access to the Virtual National Convention.
Bonaparte added that though JA had hoped to bring the industry back together in July, these valuable sessions will provide fun and learning. He also acknowledged support from sponsors Synchrony, DeBeers Group Industry Services, and Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group.
WJA Announces 2020 Carelle/WJA Member Grant Winner
New York, NY—The Women's Jewelry Association (WJA) has awarded its 2020 Carelle/WJA Member Grant to Eve Streicker, the founder of Original Eve Designs.
WJA created the grant in collaboration with the jewelry brand Carelle, to honor the memory of Brooke Tivol McGrath, who worked at Carelle and helped to establish the brand’s identity before her untimely death at age 28 from a rare blood infection. McGrath, like Carelle co-founder and designer Chana Regev, was a great supporter of WJA.
The WJA Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation, awards the $5,000 annual grant to a WJA member in the first five years of business, to help her achieve her aspirations and grow her fledgling company. The foundation administers the merit-based grant via a jury process and a competitive scoring matrix.
Streicker specializes in creating custom fine jewelry and jewelry collections. With work experience at Tiffany & Co. in education and luxury sales training, in museum and auction house settings, as well as managing jewelry production for small designers and purchasing estate jewelry from the public, she has a wide array of experiences that contribute to her love for jewelry, history, gemstones, and craftsmanship.
Streicker holds Graduate Gemologist and Graduate Pearl diplomas from GIA (Gemological Institute of America). She received her M.F.A. in Metal/Jewelry/CAD-CAM from Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadelphia, and her B.A. in Art History and Studio Art Practice from Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
Streicker is currently president of the WJA Metro New York chapter. She is also a member of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), Jewelers of America (JA), and the GIA Alumni Association. She has jewelry work in the permanent collection of the Bernard Museum in NYC and is also the recipient of the 2017 WJA Shining Star Award, a 2015 WJA Member Grant, and the 2013 Bertha Anolic Memorial Grant.
The WJA Foundation raises funds for its member grants and scholarships throughout the year. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide education, business support, and mentorship to its members.
Separately, WJA participated in #GivingTuesdayNow on May 5, an opportunity for people around the world to stand together in unity during the COVID-19 crisis. Donations to the WJA Foundation can still be made here or industry members can support WJA grants and scholarships by designating the WJA Foundation as their charity supporter via the AmazonSmile program. Details also are available at the link above.
Plumb Club Offers Two New Retailer Podcasts For May
New York, NY—The Plumb Club is pleased to introduce two new podcasts to its library of retail educational information. The podcast series kicked off last month with a focus on bridal jewelry, and this month’s episodes address strategies for both jewelers who are reopening soon and those that need to keep their stores closed for a while longer. Both podcasts will supply retailers with insights, knowledge and immediately actionable steps that can impact their business whether they are remaining closed or reopening.
Retail Reinvigoration – Visual Merchandising Tips That Stimulate Sales,by brand experience specialist Pam Levine, is ideal for stores that will be reopening soon. It encourages retailers to think of their merchandise presentations, window displays, and environment as their “space of engagement.” She showcases how a store’s visual merchandising and the creation of a customer experience are the silent sellers that express and impress the brand into the hearts and minds of a customer. She will offer methods that enable a store to conduct their own store assessment, tips on techniques and design, as well as information on the psychology behind product arrangement that stimulates buying decisions and inspirational merchandising resources.
Levine is a brand experience specialist and president of Levine Luxury Branding, a boutique agency that provides brand communication across every point of customer contact.
For stores that will be closed for a while longer, Continuous Content Can Create Customers by Monica Elias illustrates that getting to know your customers and creating a continuous stream of relevant content can not only keep your store top of mind with customers when they can’t get in to see you, but can inspire your customers as they plan for self-purchase and gifting opportunities.
Elias discusses the three C’s: Content, Connect, Create, and gives information on how to make a connection between what’s trending in the media and what you have in your store. She will share creative ideas on how to tell stories around product and easy tips on how to photograph and create video to bring it to life. Additionally, she gives great ideas on how to calendar your posts and seek co-op help from your vendors.
Elias is the founder, CEO and executive producer of Elias World Media, a multimedia company specializing in video production, distribution and integration of content across television and digital screens.
“We’ve been thrilled with the reception of our podcasts and the engagement they’re receiving”, said Michael O’Connor, marketing director for The Plumb Club. “In the few weeks since we introduced this new retail resource, we have received phenomenal feedback and hundreds of downloads of the information.”
Future podcasts will cover a variety of topics such as relationship marketing, advertising myths, PR, and social media tips. The newest podcasts, as well as the previous ones, are available on The Plumb Club website under the “Resources” tab: https://plumbclub.com/resources/
Young Diamantaires Group Launches its Website
Antwerp, Belgium—In an effort to engage the next generation of diamantaires, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses announces the launch of its Young Diamantaires (YDs) website, www.ydts.org.
The organization has worked for the past four years with young members of the diamond community all over the world to create a platform through which they can express their thoughts, opinions, and views in a safe and constructive manner.
The website itself was physically built by the members for the members. It is in its first iteration and there are plans to expand its functionality.
Rami Baron, chair of the Promotion Committee of the WFDB and founder of the Young Diamantaires, describes the four pillars as the foundation from which the group will grow:
- To provide a platform where discussion can take place, which
is relevant to our industry, respectful, and without judgment of others.
- To provide an ability to expand one’s networks, participate in events and share with like-minded people ways to improve each other’s businesses.
- To cultivate leadership roles for the future of the WFDB and foster the opportunity for women to play an equally prominent role in our industry.
- Become a focal point for sponsoring and contributing to those who are less fortunate, in ways which have a positive impact on their lives and that of our industry.
“The diamond industry has been shaped and nurtured by many different generations of diamantaires,” said Yoram Dvash, acting president, WFDB. “We are happy to see the younger members of our industry actively engaging in discussions regarding critical issues and exploring how they can build on the rich legacy of this industry.”
“We are bringing together people who would never get the opportunity to meet. We introduced discussions on topics that Young Diamantaires wanted to discuss but didn’t have the opportunities to do so. As a founding member, I am extremely proud of what we have achieved to date,” said Rachel Sahar, in charge of public relations for the YDs.
“Building this website meant we can express ourselves visually the way we wanted,” noted Harsh Shah and Chris Zoettli, the members that handled the website’s development. “We were given total freedom, and have plans to add functionality to the site. The site will never be a trading platform, but a resource centre for Young Diamantaires worldwide, to help them improve and grow their businesses.”
To learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.