GIA alumni chapter members recognised

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Institute’s association continues to grow rapidly on global level.

 The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) recently announced two outstanding chapter members: Rick Velayo, G.G., of Palo Alto, California, was recognized as the 2010 International Alumni Achievement recipient; and Amish Turakhia, G.G., of Mumbai, received the 2010 International Alumni Leadership Award.

Both were recognized at the annual GIA Alumni dinner, auction, and dance party recently held in Tucson, Arizona.

Velayo, a member of the California-Golden Gate Chapter, has been active in the Bay Area jewelry community for more than 20 years. He was nominated for his “enthusiasm and commitment to the betterment of our industry,” said Starla Turner, chapter president. He created the Northern California Security Alert System in 1994 with a network of 120 jewelers, which has helped law enforcement officials apprehend several criminals.

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Turakhia is a founding member of the GIA Alumni Mumbai Chapter (GIA AMC), which counts more than 700 members since it was established a year ago.

“[Our chapter] has come a long way, getting bigger and stronger with time. Its constant focus is to provide invaluable networking opportunities, organize multi-faceted educational seminars and field trips, and offer professional assistance to its Alumni members in all possible ways,” Turakhia said. “Although I am proud to receive this coveted award, I accept it as a representative of Team GIA AMC and hundreds of our active members who have contributed to the chapter’s growth.”

“The Institute is proud to recognize these two distinguished chapter members for all of their efforts and accomplishments,” said Linda Ellis, vice president and chief Advancement officer. “Their commitment and leadership contributes to the Alumni Association’s mission to reach, serve and engage GIA alumni; encourage lifelong relationships; provide opportunities for continuing education; and foster networking throughout the gem and jewelry industry.”

Ellis added, “We’ve recently seen a significant increase in newly formed alumni chapters across the globe.” According to Ellis, there are 62 chapters worldwide.

The GIA Alumni Achievement Awards honor members who, among other things, demonstrate and further integrity, ethical business practices and professionalism. Similarly, Alumni Leadership Awards are given to chapter officers who promote an active, growing chapter through innovative programs, activities, continuing education and more.

GIA’s Alumni Advisory Council helped determine which of the 23 Alumni Award winners would receive this year’s International Achievement and Leadership Awards.

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