GIA: Museum, Lab Collaborate with Students on Design Project

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Artists are often inspired by the beauty of the materials they use. A sculptor may sense form in a block of stone; a painter might sense the image in the texture of a canvas. In the same way artists transform canvas and stone, jewelry designers manipulate gems and metals into works of art, taking inspiration from the raw material. That inspiration, however, strikes each artist or designer differently.

GIA’s museum and laboratory staff recently collaborated with the Institute’s first Jewelry Design & Technology (JDT) class to encourage students to find inspiration in gems. The effort tapped into the museum’s wealth of history and knowledge and the analytical and research tools of the lab.

“JDT students often have the opportunity to see beautiful gems and jewelry from GIA’s museum, but have never had the chance to create their own designs with gems from the collection,” said McKenzie Santimer, GIA museum exhibit developer. Terri Ottaway, GIA museum curator, and Santimer challenged students to design rings featuring five tourmalines from the museum.

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