One of North County San Diego’s hidden gems, literally, is the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). Many San Diego residents know it’s there but are unaware of the amazing programs this nonprofit has to offer both our community as well as gem lovers around the globe. Not only can you take guided tours of the facility and have your gems analyzed, but they have now taken their globally-recognized Junior Gemologist program mobile to local schools.
Students ages 9 to 12 have the opportunity to discover the world of gemology through hands-on, practical training at school. The mobile lab made its first stops at Pacific Rim Elementary in Carlsbad on Feb. 25 and at King Chavez School of Excellence in Logan Heights on March 4.
More than 35,000 junior gemologists have participated in the program at GIA’s Carlsbad world headquarters since it was introduced in 2002. By taking the program on the road, we can reach more schools in San Diego and Orange County. Now, we can pull up right to their schools, cutting travel time and paperwork.” – Larne Antrim, GIA manager of guest services.
Nonprofit GIA – considered the global leader in gem and jewelry education – introduced its free Junior Gemologist program as part of its public benefit mission. The program meets federal curriculum guidelines and supports existing school district and youth group science programs. This is the first time that the program has traveled directly to schools; the new mobile program will be able to reach schools from Otay Mesa to Jamul and southern Riverside to Orange County.
This was a great opportunity for my students to see how science works in the real world. Each was given the opportunity to investigate and document their findings; they were engaged throughout the entire presentation.”- Sandra Mello, fourth grade teacher at King Chavez School of Excellence.
The workshop incorporates hands-on training with the same tools used by students in GIA’s rigorous Graduate Gemologist diploma program. In addition to using loupes and microscopes to examine gems, the students discover stars and cat’s eyes in phenomenal stones with penlights.
Schools interested in signing up for the mobile program can call GIA’s Guest Services at (760) 603-4116. How cool is this?
*Photos are courtesy of the GIA.