Melanie Ayako Ohama

A.G., Japan 

My name is Melanie Ayako Ohama, I am Japanese and Canadian grew up here in Bangkok. I still remember the very first day I joined AIGS in October 2010 with no knowledge of gemstones.

My initial plan was to get a certificate for Gem ID course, but 2 weeks into this course, and I had the urge to change my mind. Yes, in spite of my laziness, I did end up completing the whole AG program. It was almost a year ago, I had decided to take a year off from my bachelors in Canada.

To be frank, I was never into gemstone, because jewelry has always been my father’s business. And coming to AIGS was not in any of my plans, but more of a recommendation from my father. Somewhere deep down, I knew I had the potential but I was already lacking motivation on the first day of Gem Id class. The twist in this story is that, despite my lack of interest, this school gave me one thing no one has ever given me before. It helped me open my eyes to be able to profoundly observe the beauty within the gemstone. I personally think that the Gem Id and the Synthetics courses were the most challenging when compared to Colored Stone and Diamond grading course.

Gem ID gave me an overview insight on how to use the instruments correctly when testing a stone; and most importantly, to Comprehend the differences between two or ten other resembling stones. Just because two red stones have a similar appearance through naked eye, does not necessarily mean they have the same identification. With the synthetics course, we needed to dig a little deep into the main precious stones, and to detect whether they were treated or originally produced by humans. I found this course particularly challenging; like detecting whether the ruby had been heat treated, or had it always been a synthetic on a good day, I could easily tell them apart by looking at the inclusions. And there are those average days where the inclusions looked pretty identical and definitely clouded my little head. But with the help from my teachers and the excess amount of practices in class, I’ve come to grasp the mere differences between the treated, synthetics, and untreated/natural stones. Now, I’m not saying that the last two courses; Color stone and Diamond grading were a piece of cake. I believe the levels of these challenges differ from person to person. For example, comparing the color of 2 red stones, and at the same time being in a class full of men, I just want to believe that I have 4 photo pigments, which means I’m not color-blind!! It wasn’t just about color, we also needed to observe the way the stone is cut and most importantly, to be able to grade them according to the GIA grading system

My life has always been about visual art, which was what I was doing in university. Therefore, right after the completion of AG program, I took the jewelry design course which lasted for 48 day. I very much enjoyed this course, though, I’ve got to say that there were days filled with frustrations trying to get the lines parallel to one another. But, all in all, this was quite an experience. I will be going to further broaden my studies in jewelry design and art in Italy where I hope to reach my full potential. Finally, if you’re reading this, to all my teachers, fellow students, and to all the friendly employees at AIGS, thank you so much! And to whoever reading this and on the same path as I was when I first walked in AIGS, I highly recommend you this school without a doubt!