James Riley to takeover responsibilities from Jack Ogden.

The Gemmological Association of Great Britain, Gem-A, has hired James Riley, a former manager at Boodles and Backes & Strauss, as part of a drive to develop its position in the UK as a provider of gemmological education.

The Hatton Garden-based school has hired Riley as chief operating officer, in a role working closely with its present chief operating officer Jack Ogden.


Riley has previously worked as a manager at Backes & Strauss, as diamond manager at Boodles and has previously worked on the Gem-A board.

He will oversee the day-to-day running of Gem-A, and will take over an “increasing amount of responsibility”, developing the UK market for Gem-A’s education and services.

Ogden will instead focus on developing Gem-A’s worldwide educational, academic and gem-trade interests, a role that will offer him “more time for his own research”.

Ogden said of Riley’s appointment: “This is a perfect progression for me. I am very happy that the board has agreed to this evolution in my role. With James working with me, it is a win-win situation for Gem-A.”

Riley described his happiness at joining Gem-A and says he is proud to be part of the association. “[I am] joining Gem-A at a time of growth and opportunity for the association. My combination of relevant management and trade experience will compliment Jack’s proven skills. We will make an effective team.”