Friday, 16 March 2012


Location-wise, it is tucked between the Carlsbad Flower Fields to the west and Legoland to the east, yet I wasn't aware of GIA (Gemological Institute of America) until I read about the EGGSTRAVAGANZA exhibit.

In front of the building is a tower with a rotating crystal - it sets the tone.

Turns out that GIA is responsible for the 4Cs - the grading system to compare and evaluate diamonds - carat, color, clarity and cut.

Debbie, our knowledgable tour guide (a graduate of GIA), spent two hours describing what takes place at this nonprofit institute - education, research and instrument development.

We saw gems and gems and then more gems.

Did you know that the largest part of the diamond is the girdle, which separates the crown on top and the pavilion below?

The classrooms, filled with microscopes and other instrumentation is not just for students. 

Next week there will be FBI agents dropping by to learn about diamonds (part of the job since they deal with stolen goods).

We learned about pearls.

Originally found in the Cook Islands but renamed Tahitian pearls, a sexier name for marketing purposes.

There was an entire wall dedicated to exquisite photos of magnified inclusions (any material that is trapped inside a mineral during its formation).

In the lobby, this piece catches the light --- almost 1 million carats of rock crystal quartz from Bahia, Brazil with golden rutile inclusions. A project that took 7 years and 6 months to complete.

Although I went to GIA to see the eggs...

I'm glad I stayed for the tour.


  1. I knew that place was there but I didn't know how cool it was. I must visit. Thanks, Lori, you always find the hidden gems..tee hee...