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 Post subject: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:39 pm 
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Hello, my name is Justin and I am an amateur gemologist and lapidary in San Francisco. I found this forum a few weeks ago and have been really enjoying sifting through it.

I have been into stones for a few years now. I joined the San Francisco Gem and Mineral Society where I have had a great time learning to cut and polish cabochons and also cut and create other rock based projects. My girlfriend just became a board member there, so we are excited to get deeper into that community of wise old artisans and rock hounds.

Now, I'm thinking hard about gemology school. I've been thinking about it on and off for over a year and I'm thinking that 2015 is a good year for it. That's how I found this board, researching differences between GIA and AIGS. I'm thinking about going to Bangkok, a city I really love, for 6 months and doing the AIGS gemology course. It's the perfect time for me to change jobs, so I am hoping once I have an AG after my name I can find some new interesting opportunities for work.

I would love to apprentice as a lapidary and and learn every step of the process from rough stones to faceting to the final product. I would also love to start getting into the world of buying and selling gemstones (and of course adventure traveling).

I will be in Tucson for my third time this year and I can't wait. I love to get rough stones in Tucson and then spend the year cutting and polishing them at the Gem Club.

I look forward to learning a lot through this board.

Thanks,
Justin K Prim


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 Post subject: Re: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:02 pm 
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Welcome aboard, Justin! Glad you decided to join us :D .

I think going to the AIGS would be fantastic! You'd be right there where a lot of the action is.

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 Post subject: Re: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:20 pm 
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Hi Justin and welcome.
It has been my experience, that the only credentials recognized in the US are GG and then with a little explaining FGA.

That being said, I personally think it would be great to study in Thailand and I know their curriculum is excellent.

If you have the bread, GIA also offers classes in Bangkok. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:31 pm 
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Barbra, thanks for that tip. I have been wondering about that because I know everyone also talks about GG. Too bad though because AIGS is like $7000 cheaper and seems from what I've read and heard that the education is about the same. So I guess if I'm gonna invest thousands then it would be worth an extra $7000 to ensure that my credentials would be recognized.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:59 pm 
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It depends on what you wish to do with this education.
If you are just using it as a platform to get hired in the industry, yeah a GG will get you a few pennies more every week on your paycheck.

If you will be working more independently, buying, selling, identifying unknowns, the AIGS is excellent.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:51 pm 
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I'm not sure all the avenues that could open up as a gemologist but I don't want to have doors closed for me because I didn't go to a recognized school. I'm not very worried about a few pennies or even dollars per check but I am worried about the extra $7000 because thats of extra money to save up, even in San Francisco.

I definitely want to go into buying and selling and cutting and I know you don't necessarily need formal training to do those but I want the training and I also want to live in Thailand for 6 months while I learn!

Would you strongly advise me that AIGS is a bad idea as a US citizen who will be looking for work when he graduates?

Thanks so much for the guidance!
Justin


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 Post subject: Re: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:15 pm 
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I'm also an SF native.....things are expensive here.

Speaking from my personal experience, I went to SFSU, got a degree in Geology, and got a job in retail management.
Went on to FGG in Idar berstein, came back and had most prospective employers balk, "We want GGs....what does the "F" even stand for." Was able to land a retail manager position from someone who was also educated in Germany.

3 years later got a GG.

It's pursuing a passion which just keeps snowballing, not necessarily the wisest career choice IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:27 pm 
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I see! Well you have pretty thoroughly swayed me. I am rethinking financial plans and campus choices! I definitely understand about pursuing a passion. I don't think being a gemologists is possibly the best choice when it comes to highest income but I usually choose my jobs based on adventurous factors like being outdoors, ability to travel, etc. This is all very exciting and feels good!


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 Post subject: Re: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:14 pm 
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The G.I.A course in Bangkok sounds pretty good to me!
In 2009, we brought our sapphire mine from some folks who have now ended up dealing gems in Bangkok.
At first, they had planed to deal in Africa, but reality put paid to that.
They went to Bangkok, and after a few months had totally fallen in love with the place.
You can follow their adventures on www.gemhunters.com.
Just some more food for thought, though; they went into it, having been miners, and gem-cutter, for a number of years, so were armed with enough knowledge to be able to succeed.
Another miner/gemcutter from sapphire plans to go there later this year, and join the adventure.
Hope it works for you.
Barry.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:49 pm 
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The gemhunters.com link is broken.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:17 am 
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Sorry--www.gemhunters.com.au, that should do it!
Barry


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 Post subject: Re: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:45 pm 
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I realized it's been almost a year since I made this original post. I wanted to give an update for anyone interested. I spent half the year in the UK researching a book I'm working on about the Landscape of the Arthurian Legend! I'm back in San Francisco and my book is maybe 1/3 done.

I'm still thinking hard about gemology school and I think I've worked out a solid plan that involves buying a faceting machine this week (I'm currently in a faceting class at the SF Gem and Mineral Society), taking a lost wax casting class in January at City College, going to a more advanced faceting 2 week workshop in Georgia in May, going back to Scotland in June and July to do a commissioned sound installation, and then FINALLY (this is a long winded plan) going to Mumbai in August to start a 6 month GG program at GIA India! I'm really excited about this, especially when I realized that my whole 6 month experience in India will cost only $14,045 including a round trip flight from Glasgow, tuition, food, housing, and sim card bill.

So in Feb 2017, I will be a GG with 3 years of lapidary experience, a bit of faceting experience, and silversmithing and silver casting knowledge, plus I will have my own faceting machine and a portfolio of lapidary work I've done. I feel like that puts me in a pretty good place to jump into some sort of career in the world of gems and jewelry! And after all that, I think I will only come home with a $10,000 credit card debt!! Not the worst and I think it's worth the financial stress.

I'm especially grateful to this site because I have used it so much in my research about gem school and faceting machines. So much good and trustworthy info on here. I hope to befriend a few of its members in real life through my travels through the US, UK, and India. <3


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 Post subject: Re: Hello, I'm New here!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2015 12:59 am 
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Glad to get the update, homeboy. :D


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