MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Le Savoir Faire d'Excellence: Gemology

By Tiffanie Boggs, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management 2015-2016, USA

To conclude our first month and introduction to luxury at ESSEC, my classmates and I participated in Le Savior Faire d’Excellence, which was a series of classes that gave us insight into various areas of luxury.  My favorite class in this series was the Gemology class. I had never studied the various gemstones so I did not know what to expect when we walked into the classroom.  I was extremely impressed by our Professor, Mr. Mehdi Saadian, who is the school director at GIA’s (Gemological Institute of America) London campus.  His passion for the science of gemology was contagious and I was eager to soak in as much of his knowledge as I could during his seminars. 

Over the course of three seminars, we explored the various characteristics and topics related to diamonds, pearls, and colored stones.  Each category of gemstones has its own unique features and factors that can be used to analyze to grade the quality and rarity of the stones.

Diamonds are the most commonly purchased gemstone and we spent time detailing the features of these beautiful gemstones, including the 4Cs of diamond quality.  The 4Cs of diamond quality was created by the GIA to provide an international language on how to compare and evaluate diamonds on four dimensions: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight. We also learned how diamonds are naturally formed and the areas with the largest reserves of diamonds.

Our next seminar covered pearls and how these symbolic gems have transcended time. Wendiscussed the history of the popularity of these organic gems, starting with the Polynesian legend of pearls being gifts from the gods, with pearls falling from rainbows into the sea. Pearls gained popularity as they became symbols of wealth and power, and today, pearls are very much integrated with fashion.  Mr. Saadian taught us about the characteristics of various types of pearls including Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian, and Conch pearls, just to name a few. We also learned about the GIA 7 Pearl Value Factors™: size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre thickness, and matching.

Our final seminar was dedicated to colored stones. During this seminar, we discussed the common attributes of the various types of these stunningly beautiful gemstones and how to differentiate between these stones.  We also learned about the different factors used to grade quality and rarity.  We not only talked about sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, which are historically known as the most precious of the colored stones, but also about other colored stones including opals, topaz, and tanzanite.  

This short but fascinating seminar left me eager to learn more about gemology and also very much excited to learn more about the jewelry sector of the luxury industry and how these precious gemstones are integrated into creating beautiful pieces of art.

Photo Credits:

Photo 1 - GIA Logo (Current)
Photo 2 - "Fancy-shape diamonds, along with the classic round diamonds, are popular choices for today’s jewelry consumer.” Courtesy of Lazare Kaplan Diamonds. Photo by Robert Weldon; © GIA
Photo 3 - “Diamond and Tahitian cultured pearl earrings.” Courtesy of Mastoloni, New York. Photo by Robert Weldon; © GIA
Photo 4 - “Corundum ruby crystal in calcite and three cut rubies.” Rough specimen: Gift of William F. Larson. Right oval cut stone: Courtesy of Edward Boehm. Photo by Robert Weldon; © GIA