The second largest city in Australia, Melbourne is often referred to as Australia’s “cultural capital”, and with good reason. With an eclectic range of small cafes, eateries and cultural sights, Melbourne is acity of street art, music and entertainment. No matter where you go in Melbourne, you will find yourself amongst the bustling energetic characters that call this fabulous city home.
Situated in West Melbourne, the Victorian Division of the GAA is always a hive of activity. The iconic Southern Cross Station, a hub for all metro and regional trains and buses is only a 10 minute walk away, and several trams stop less than 200 metres from the door, ensuring easy access for all those visiting via public transport. Weekend and night parking in the area are closely and plentiful, with a range of nearby great eateries sure to satisfy. In addition to the standard gemmological equipment Gemmology House also has a dedicated diamond laboratory, a fluorescing mineral museum and plentiful displays and exhibits in the building. The Victorian Division has the capacity to accommodate groups both small and large and accommodates the Gold & Silversmiths Guild Teaching Workshop.
COURSE DATES, FEES & ENROLMENTS
Courses are provided by Gem-Ed Australia and individual State Divisions. Click here to view the course dates and fees for Victoria.
VICTORIA DIVISION FACILITIES
- Fully equipped and furnished library including printer, computer and binder.
- Board rooms with 20-30 seated capacity, lecture rooms with 40-60 capacity
- Fully equipped kitchen for catering; fridge,freezer, tea/coffee, oven, grill.
- Disabled access
- Laura Brehaut FGAA DipDT, NCVJ Registered Valuer Victorian President, GemEd Treasurer Close
- David Heiderich Victoria Education Support Officer Close
- Ala Naghshineh Victorian State Treasurer Close
- Michael Oboler Victorian State Vice President Close
- Stacey Lim FGAA, BA Design Victorian State Vice President Close
- Grant Hamid Practical Demonstrator, committee member Close
- Lynne Cunningham Victorian State Secretary Close
- Katherine Kovacs BA, FGAA, FGA Committee member Close
- Angela Beach FGAA, BA Arts Committee Member Close
- Vicken Nackashian FGAA Committee Member Close
- Aimee Page Victorian Office Manager Close
- Kathryn Wyatt BSc FGAA DipDT NCJV Registered Valuer Victorian Committee Member, Federal Publicity Officer Close
- Cheryl Paton FGAA Committee member Close
Profile.Laura Brehaut FGAA DipDT, NCVJ Registered Valuer Victorian President, GemEd Treasurer
I have had no particular background or upbringing within the Jewellery industry, however I have had a keen interest in jewellery from a very young age, when I thought it was a treat to be shown my Aunt’s costume jewellery collection. I had a particular fondness for musicals and thought that one day I would like to be able to name gemstones like “Aunt Alicia did in the musical Gigi” – Do yourself a favour, Google it.
While I was studying accounting at university, I would attend the weekly auctions held by Leonard Joel’s Auction Rooms in South Yarra, purchasing a few items that I still cherish today. I also had a relationship with a jewellery store in Armadale, “Impala – Armadale”, where I had a few long term laybys. I would talk to the late Josephine Fialides about Jewellery, and she would show me some extra special pieces. Josephine, herself a past member of the GAA Vic-Div Management Committee, encouraged me to study Gemmology to understand what I was purchasing at auction and online and avoid the potential for costly mistakes.
I first enrolled in the gemmology short course, then named Popular Gemmology, where I met the late Des Bumpstead and formed a friendship, following Des to Nunawading Lapidary club where he taught me faceting on a Thursday evening.
I studied the Diploma in Gemmology with the GAA from 2006 – 2007, and in 2008 returned as a volunteer to be Des’ assistant in Gem 1 prac. Des and I spent countless hours over many years – always on a Thursday evening at Nunawading – discussing ways which the gemstone collection could and should be extended and improved, and all things “Gemmo”. I never did much faceting, but with Des’ support I planned a total revamp of the cataloguing and renumbering of the GAA Vic-Div teaching collection, moving it online from the handwritten records.
I have been a constant member of the Victorian Division management committee since becoming the student rep in 2006. I was given the opportunity to teach the Gem 1 theory class in 2011, which is a position that I feel most privileged to hold. I took on the role of Treasurer of Gem-Ed in May 2013 and was elected as President of the Victorian Division in 2019. I am passionate about volunteering for the GAA, and value the friendships that I have formed through “Gemmo”.
I have worked at Hamid Bros Gemstone Merchants since 2008. In my spare time, I enjoy taking microphotographs of inclusions in gemstones through the microscope.
Profile.David Heiderich Victoria Education Support Officer
My father went opal mining in 1967 and got lucky, finding opal with colour which he later cut and polished. Fascinated by the lapidary work I took up the hobby and worked in the family retail business cutting stones. Realising I needed gemstone credibility for my work, I completed the Diploma in Gemmology in 1992, started lecturing Diploma theory in 1997 and have been the Education Officer since 1999.
Profile.Ala Naghshineh Victorian State Treasurer
From my childhood I was passionate about the different colour of rocks and stones in the mountains. As a result, I studied metallurgy engineering and worked in different base metal and precious metals mines (my practical expertise is precious metal refining). I gradually found my way in the management level of these companies and enhanced my knowledge in different fields, from mineral processing to exploration and exploitation (open cut- mechanised underground mining). I got my MBA degree in 2010 and then Diploma in Diamond Technology in 2020.
Profile.Michael Oboler Victorian State Vice President
I grew up in a family run jewellery business in Cape Town. One of my earliest associations with gemstones was as a child making a gift for my parents by taking a good bottle of wine and covering it with putty and then sticking heaps of reject and out of fashion gemstones onto the bottle.
I entered the industry in 1975 and served for many years on the Cape Jewellery Manufacturers Association and rose to become the chairman. I also represented the industry on the Cape Chamber of Industries, a body similar to VECCI in Melbourne.
Later I was on the Jewellery Council of South Africa, (the industries peak body) representing the manufacturing sector and shortly before emigrating to Australia in1990, I was elected the National Chairman.
On arrival in Australia I quickly became involved in the industry and was elected to the Victorian Branch committee of the JAA. In later years I Chaired the Branch and eventually I was elected JAA President.
In have always believed in the one industry viewpoint and have strived to engender close relations with all sectors of the trade.
In 2010 I decided that I wanted to know more about the gemstones that had always fascinated me and I began studies through the GAA in Melbourne. I find that being on the GAA Victorian Committee allows me to give something back to the trade and enjoy a sense of fulfilment
Profile.Stacey Lim FGAA, BA Design Victorian State Vice President
My background in graphic design and childhood obsession with crystals lead me into a creative role within the jewellery industry working as a designer, social media and marketing manager. Graduating with a Diploma in Gemmology in 2011 and continuing on as a lab assistant and short course teacher/creator, I then joined the GAA (Vic) Council in 2017. Writing regular articles for various jewellery publications over the past 8 years has given me the opportunity to share my passion for gemmology with the jewellery industry.
Profile.Grant Hamid Practical Demonstrator, committee member
My interest in Gemmology was the result of my family wholesale gem merchant business that originated from my Sri Lankan grandfather. I completed my Diploma of Gemmology in 1975 followed by my Diamond Diploma. My enthusiasm for the GAA and education in the jewellery industry has seen me hold numerous positions with the Association such as lecturer, practical demonstrator, Federal and State President, Federal Chairman and Chief Examiner. I was proudly awarded an Honorary Life Membership in 2012. I believe the passion, selfless drive and friendship of our committee members over the years has been the inspiration to continue my involvement at the GAA.
Profile.Lynne Cunningham Victorian State Secretary
Being a creative person and having a love for beautiful things, jewellery was the perfect fit.
In my past, I owned and ran a very successful business servicing the craft industry for many years. My products were sold through many small craft boutiques as well as major retailers. After starting my jewellery business a number of years ago, gemmology soon became my passion.
The confidence I gained after studying gemmology is evident through the success of my business. Friendship and networking has been very valuable and I have chosen to share some of my energy and enthusiasm by becoming a board member of GAA.
Profile.Katherine Kovacs BA, FGAA, FGA Committee member
GAA member since 1997. Victorian Committee Member since 2000. Member of the International Coloured Gemstone Association (ICA) since 2009. Victorian State Minute Secretary 2001-2002, Honorary State Secretary 2003-2006, State President 2006-2009, Federal Secretary 2009-2012, 2018, Secretary Gem-Ed Australia 2012, Chair of Gem-Ed Australia since 2012, Professional Gem Merchant, working in family business since 1992. Member of GAA Federal Opal Committee. Works extensively with Federal Publicity and have written or co-authored articles on gemstones for trade magazines.
Profile.Angela Beach FGAA, BA Arts Committee Member
My interest in gemmology began after I’d completed university and was looking for a job requiring a Japanese speaking person. Opals were very much the gem of choice in Australia with the Japanese tourists. I was quickly picked up by a large opal firm in the city and thus began my foray into opals and gemstones.
At a later date I was managing my own business in antiques and antique/ modern jewellery with a limited understanding of gemstones in general. It was at this point I would consider doing a gemmology course, but being a new business and distance prevailed my decision.
After a number of years of buying and selling I found that on occasion I was being duped by some unscrupulous dealers and in due course began my gemmology diploma.
As a result of my experience earlier on and with my acquired knowledge and my participation with the GAA committee as a student, after completion of my diploma I was very interested to contribute to the committee and help in any way possible to promote and enable greater understanding and standards of the gem world for ourselves and the community at large.
Profile.Vicken Nackashian FGAA Committee Member
My passion for jewellery started when I was four years old, being in the midst of Armenian jewellers.
Upon moving to Australia, I followed through with my passion and completed a jewellery apprenticeship and finally opened my own jewellery business 16 years ago.
I have always been interested in the gems I create pieces with and thought that studying Gemmology would not only enhance my knowledge, but build my confidence in knowing that the gems I purchase for my clients’ pieces are exactly what they are paying for.
Having completed my Diploma of Gemmology has not only improved my knowledge but has also built my circle of friends. 2019 is the year I chose to join the GAA committee of Victoria and help build the strength of the Gemmological Association.
Profile.Aimee Page Victorian Office Manager
Aimee studied fashion and worked in that field for a number of years, but always loved making jewellery so decided to enrol to study the Advanced Diploma in Jewellery at Box Hill Institute, which she absolutely loved.
Since graduating in 2007, Aimee has worked in various roles in the jewellery industry, and has been with the GAA for two years as the Office Manager of the Victorian Division.
Profile.Kathryn Wyatt BSc FGAA DipDT NCJV Registered Valuer Victorian Committee Member, Federal Publicity Officer
I did my gemmology back in 1989 (I followed mother Beatrice whom did the Gemmology Diploma in her fifties) and have never look back at doing another course as you are continually learning. Gemmology is ever changing and evolving science. I love it. I also love the association as it is like having another family. It is also a great network for hobbyists and people in the jewellery industry.
I volunteer for the association by being the Federal Publicity and Marketing Officer and being on Victorian Council. It is a privilege to work with a great bunch of people!
I have a small Antique and Contemporary Jewellery shop in Melbourne and teach the Introduction to Antique Jewellery course in Melbourne.
Profile.Cheryl Paton FGAA Committee member
I never at a young age thought this would be a career I would be so dedicated to for many years.
A College elective in metal work led to full time employment and an apprenticeship in Jewellery making and restoration at Collingwood Technical College. Developing skills in an ever changing industry and still learning to this day. Graduating in Gemmology in 2018 and being a student representative introduced me to an equally passionate group of individuals that strive to keep an industry in Gemstones equipped with an updated world wide standard of knowledge. I feel privileged to be a part of this community and hope my efforts may assist in keeping the GAA culture strong.