December 14-16—SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: Wholesale and retail show; Gem Faire Inc.; Scottish Rite Center, 1895 Camino del Rio S; Fri. 12-6, Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-5
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 Post subject: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:16 pm 
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I am very pleased and excited to tell you guys that I just paid to reserve my spot at GIA this Autumn!

I will be doing eLearning for my GIA Graduate Colored Stones class from Scotland starting in June, doing my Lab class in London, then going to Bangkok to do my Gem ID Lab class and Graduate Diamonds class for 2 months. I couldn't be more excited and with the money I save from not doing the whole GG program on Campus, I can afford my own hand picked tool kit for gemology work!! This is going to be a great year. I'm hoping to make some good international connections in Bangkok and enjoy delicious food and cheap rent for the a few months. I LOVE BANGKOK! :D :D :D :D

Looks like my total cost for the whole 6 month experience of Scotland, London, and Bangkok is about $16,413, which includes all flights, rent, food, transportation, gemological tools, and phone service which is a STEAL considering that tuition alone in NYC is $22,670 and California is more!

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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:12 am 
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Exciting!! All the best!!! 8) 8) 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:07 am 
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Well, that's hella clever, Justinprim. How did you sort that out?

Look like we're loosing you in SF.


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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:32 am 
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I'll make this response verbose in case anyone finds this info useful in the future. It was a whole lot of research! I started by trying to figure out if I was eligible for any scholarships or loans if I went to GIA outside of the US. Sadly no. So then I proceeded to figure out how much the GG program costs at each campus in USD. I already realized that the cost of tuition in the USA was too expensive so the only way I could swing the program was to do it in another country. Also I figured that I would make better contacts in Bangkok than I would in Carlsbad and I really want to find an international job so that was my motivation

GG costs by campus
Mumbai $12,017
Bangkok $14,550
Taiwan $15,598
London $19,266
New York $22,670

I was really thinking Mumbai since it's so cheap but I really wanted to be in Bangkok for the food and for the incredible gem district that's there. It seemed like that location would be worth an extra $2500.

So my plan was to do 6 months in Bangkok after visiting my girlfriend in Scotland and doing a commissioned art project. Then my girlfriend and I decided that we would really prefer if I stayed with her for 6 months because we never get to see each other because we live in different countries. Then I started looking at the GIA distance learning program and decided that it would be acceptable to distance from her house in Scotland if I was still able to go to Bangkok for a short time so I could still get the experience and connections.

I got really familiar with the GG program layout. It's essentially 2 classes (Graduate Diamonds and Graduate Colored Stones). That equates to 3 classes for eLearning (Colored stones is 2 classes instead of 1). I decided to do the Graduate Diamonds class in Bangkok since that's 2 months and do the rest from Scotland. I decided to do one of my Colored Stones lab classes in London so I would have an excuse to visit the campus and meet some British GIA teachers (networking!) and then do my other Gem ID lab in Bangkok to save money. I realized if I did Graduate Gems at home I was going to need a gemology tool kit to finish the class (which is totally exciting) so I did a bunch of research on GemologyOnline to help me figure out where to get what for the best deals and quality.

Final numbers look like this:


Scotland/Bangkok Plan : $16,082

BKK Diamond Grading Class $5203
eLearning Distance Classes $4265
London Lab for Colored Stones $1196
BKK Gem ID Lab $1258
Customized Gemology Tool Kit $1304

6 months Scotland
1 megabits to London: $30
Plane Ticket to Glasgow: (free on rewards points)
6 months rent: $600 total
6 months food: $900
Sim Card for 6 months: $90

2 months BKK
Plane Roundtrip - London to BKK: $545
Bus to London: $23
2 months rent: $180
2 months Food: $372
2 months Sim card: $36
Student Visa: $80


My Gemology Toolkit looks like:
a mini Maglite (or similar), $20 eBay
a 10x loupe, HAVE
Elite 1030PM Microscope from Gemoro 10X and 30X $249.00
a gem cloth, $4
a refractometer with polarizing filter and a removable magnifying eye piece and refractive index (RI) liquid, $695 from http://www.gemproducts.com/refractometer.html
an optic figure sphere, $15 GIA
a dichroscope, $88 from OPL
a polariscope, $150 eBay
a spectroscope. $81 from (OPL)
gem tweezers, HAVE
a daylight-equivalent light source, HAVE




And just for comparison, I crunched the numbers of every other possible combination of this plan and they looked like this:

$13,826 GG only eLearning from Scotland (includes tool kit) (No bangkok at all)
$14,264 6 months all inclusive living in Mumbai
$17,161 6 months all inclusive living in Bangkok with Scotland trip
$17,434 6 months all inclusive living in Bangkok without visiting Scotland


To make this whole thing really work, I am exploiting as many rewards points credit cards and no-interest-for-a-year credit cards because I am paying the whole $16k on credit cards because there was no other way to do it other than stay in the USA and get a GIA loan which was waaayyy too boring :D

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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:16 am 
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Good luck on you adventure. Seems like a solid plan.

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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:18 pm 
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Scotland sounds awesome to me. The Scottish Gemmological Association in Edinburgh has the coolest members, meetings and local field trips.
http://www.scottishgemmology.org/

And...the language barrier is manageable. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:56 pm 
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Thanks! I have seen their site before and hope I can go visit them. Edinburgh is about 2 hours from where Ill be so not impossible. Also, Im taking my faceting machine with me so it would be fun to show some stuff and see some stuff!

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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:13 am 
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I leave for Scotland tomorrow with my Faceting machine, rough, and 7 months worth of clothes. I start eLearning classes on Monday! So excited!

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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:46 pm 
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Good luck and enjoy!


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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:50 pm 
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Good luck.

I lived in London for 12 years, but it has been a few years since I was there. Your rent numbers seem a little low, I would hate to have you get there and have problems. But I was looking for a place for a family of 4. I am sure that a single room or eve sharing a room is much less expensive.

I did not see money for transportation. In London the tube and bus system is very good. You can get a weekly or a monthly pass, but they are not cheap. With a pass yo can use any tube or bus in london, which should get you anywhere you need to go.

I do not want to discourage you, just trying to give you a heads up.


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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:42 pm 
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You'll have a great time on every level.


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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:22 pm 
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Congrats! I think that you will find the whole process quite a lot of fun. :D

If you already plan on going to the BBK campus for the GID lab class, I would also suggest considering starting your GID course there as well. Spending some time completing the beginning of the practical testing in the student workroom with an onsite instructor can be very beneficial and a great way to really become familiar with the process and equipment before you go home and do the rest on your own. The student workroom is charged per day, so you spend as much or as little time as you wish as long as space is available.

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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:34 pm 
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I'm going to be doing my whole Diamonds class in BKK so I think I'll have plenty of time and fun in Bangkok. I'm two weeks into the adventure and am finishing up my second "Essentials" class. I start colored stones next week. Also one exciting thing that's happened so far is I found out I got a large eLearning scholarship which really helps. I need to go back to SF to thank the Golden Gate Alumni society for alerting me to the fact that eLearning scholarships exist. I had no intention of trying to get one until they told me and I am really happy I did.

I'm loving Scotland. It's beautiful right now and its been fun to live with my girlfriend and her family while I do my online classes. Also my girlfriend and I got a grant to do a sound/art installation in a ruined victorian mansion in August so this is gonna be an exciting summer! I have a lab class in London in late August and then in October I head to Bangkok for 2.5 months! Good times!!

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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 6:24 pm 
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Sounds like things are going well. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Just paid my GG down payment!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:57 am 
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The BREXIT vote has changed the Pound value to a level I have not seen for a longtime. That shold make yr money go a little further, if you did not move it over there already.

I hope you enjo all of the trip, it sounds like an adventure.

When I was there, I goe into 14th century reenacting, and was with a group that put on displays at WARICK Castle. I think I got to stay for the weekend at about 30 differnt sites, everything from ruins to functioning castles.

Look at the English Heritage site for sponsored events.

There is also the Natural Trust of Scotland that has wonderful events.

Enjoy the trip


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