Gemological Institute of America - Jewelry - 5345 Armada Dr

gia distance education review

Education / August 19, 2017

Perry's is proud to have eleven GIA Graduate Gemologists on staff, along with several other employees currently enrolled in GIA classes.

What does this mean?

GIA, or the Gemological Institute of America, is THE training authority in the American jewelry industry. To earn a Graduate Gemologist degree from the GIA, you must complete and pass five course studies and three lab classes, and then pass a comprehensive final exam. While you do earn a certificate of completion after each class or lab, you must complete and pass all eight (earning eight separate certificates) to earn the degree of Graduate Gemologist.

Our GIA Accredited Staff


  • Diamond Essentials
  • Diamonds & Diamond Grading
  • Colored Stone Essentials
  • Colored Stones
  • Gem Identification

Lab Classes:

  • Diamond Grading Lab
  • Colored Stone Grading Lab
  • Gem Identification Lab

A prospective GG can earn this degree in two ways. He or she may enroll in a 6 month course at either of the GIA's US campuses in New York, NY or Carlsbad, CA, or complete the courses at his or her own pace through a distance education program. Distance students must still travel to a GIA campus to complete the required Lab courses.

On-campus tuition costs approximately $22, 670, while distance education tuition costs approximately $5, 935. These numbers do NOT include books, equipment costs, or travel and living expenses.

Earning a Graduate Gemologist Degree from the GIA requires a very serious investment of both time and money. Only those who are truly serious about their jewelry careers go for a Graduate Gemologist Degree. Perry's is extremely proud to employ so many with such a deep commitment to the jewelry industry.

Our GIA Accredited Staff:

  • Paige Shearin, GG

Gene Balius, Sales and Client Services

  • Diamonds and Diamond Grading, GIA
  • Colored Stones, GIA
  • Traveling Gem ID course, GIA
  • Tag Heuer Level 1 Certification
  • IWC Timepieces Certification
  • Years in Jewelry Industry - 35

Janet Bazzone, GG, Buyer, Appraiser

  • Graduate Gemologist, GIA
  • Graduate Pearls, GIA
  • Gem Cutting Course
  • World of Gems Conference, 2012
  • Attended Antique Jewelry and Art Conference ("Jewelry Camp"), 2012
  • Gemworld International “Pearl Treatment & Pricing, ” 2013
  • Visited Cape Town Diamond Museum, Cape Town, South Africa, 2013
  • Toured Afrogem Jewelry Manufacturing Facility, Cape Town, South Africa, 2013
  • Gemworld International "Emerald Treatments and Pricing", 2014
  • Gemworld Internationa "Corundum Treatments and Pricing", 2012
  • The Antique Jewelry and Art Conference -“Jewelry Camp Atlanta” April 20, 2015
  • Enrolled in American Numismatic Association's School of Numismatics Diploma Program
  • American Numismatic Association Member (ANA)
  • Ancient Coin Collectors Guild
  • Charlotte Coin Club
  • U.S. Faceters Guild
  • GIA Alumni Association
  • Years in Jewelry Industry - 13

Janet's story: I became interested in gemology after my husband gave me several pieces of jewelry with colored stones. In an effort to cut costs, I decided to learn to cut gems.

I came to Charlotte, NC and took a three week course in gem cutting. When I came within hours of buying a bus ticket home and trading my car for a 75 carat Aquamarine, I realized that I should learn more about the gems I had learned to cut. I drove home and signed up for the GIA Graduate Gemologist course of study. I bought faceting equipment, gemological equipment and went to work as a manager of a small jewelry store.

I was motivated to finish the course quickly, as I was promised a substantial raise upon completion. In order to get the work done, I got up at 3:30 AM to study before getting the kids ready for school, and then off to work myself. I drove to Harrisburg, PA for my diamond lab, and I took the other labs and courses in Columbus, Ohio.