The Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF has launched a series of free-of-charge, online courses, entitled “Understanding Gemstones.”
With each covering a specific gem, the courses are comprehensive and self-paced by the student, who is able to start and complete them at any time via SSEF’s Internet-based learning platform.
The courses are available in English, French and simplified Chinese. The gems currently covered are diamonds, emeralds, pearls, rubies and sapphires. SSEF plans on adding more gems and languages to the selection of courses in the future.
Each course provides students with an introduction to the selected gem, its history, properties, information about how it is formed, the locations from which it is sourced, treatments that it may be subject to, and, when relevant, its synthetic counterparts.
At the end of each course, students are presented with a quiz, and if they pass are awarded a certificate of completion for that unit.
This new online offering builds on SSEF’s in-person courses, which began more than two decades ago and range from introductory practical gemmology all the way to scientific gemmology. As a non-profit Swiss foundation, SSEF’s mission is to carry out gem research and provide gem education.
“We have had the privilege of testing many of the world's most famous and exceptional gemstones, and as a consequence have amassed a vast quantity of knowledge that we would like to make available to the industry and jewellery buying public,” said Dr. Michael S. Krzemnicki, Director of SSEF. “Recent advances in online learning and technology enables us to launch these online courses, to share our knowledge and passion about gemstones, to a wide international audience at no cost to students.”