GIA India organised its first-ever virtual alumni guest session that was attended by more than 100 alumni. The guest speaker was Dr. C. Vinod Hayagriv, Managing Director and Director, C. Krishniah Chetty (CKC) Group of Jewellers, who spoke about managing and evolving a retail brand with gemstones and diamonds over generations and the relevance amidst changes and challenges.

The event started with a quick introduction of Dr. Hayagriv by Sriram Natarajan, Managing Director of GIA India. The participants were excited to not just hear from a jeweller at the helm of a 150-year legacy, but also from an alumnus – Dr. Hayagriv completed his Diamond & Colored Stone Diplomas from GIA’s Santa Monica, CA, USA, and Hong Kong campuses in 1982. During the course of his presentation, Dr. Hayagriv talked about how CKC was established in 1869 and has been the jeweller of choice for several royal houses in India and around the world. He spoke about his passion for being a gemmologist, educating consumers about gemstones, and the importance of transparency to help build trust and consumer confidence.

“The virtual GIA India Alumni Guest Session is a wonderful initiative. I’d like to thank Sriram Natarajan and Manoj Singhania for taking this opportunity to create a platform with gemmologists to interact and learn from each other,” said Dr. Hayagriv. “I enjoyed the experience and Q&A session with Sriram and GIA alumni members. It was a great learning experience that allowed for the exchange of ideas between hundreds of gemmologists.” As a message to the GIA alumni, Dr. Hayagriv added, “Owing to our connection to GIA, it is our responsibility as gemmologists to uphold the principles that we have learnt – to educate consumers, and to be ethical and sell with full disclosure.”

Interacting with the alumni, Dr. Hayagriv shared several anecdotes including the first diamond sold by CKC. He also shared his insights and experience about the future state of the luxury market, particularly high-end jewellery, as well as the challenges and opportunities presented by laboratory-grown diamonds.

“GIA India Alumni Guest Session was one of the most uplifting webinars I have ever attended. The hosts were excellent, centered and to-the-point. The speaker’s contribution grounded knowledge in the real-world, making it exceptionally relevant in today’s scenario,” said Amit Kapoor, GIA Graduate Gemologist (GG), AJP, Associate Vice President – Jewelry, SaffronArt. “The whole experience was engaging not only because it was industry-specific, but also in large part because the speaker was personable. Great initiative by GIA India!”

“I’d like to thank GIA India for organising the Alumni Guest Session. I’m also thankful to Dr. Vinod Hayagriv for sharing his knowledge with all the jewellers,” said Ramesh Davanam, GIA Diamonds Graduate and CEO, Davanam Jewellers. “Navratna is an important aspect of our businesses and jewellers should be well-informed about the gemstones to communicate its benefits to the consumers. Dr. Hayagriv shared insights on how to build a brand by selling precious stones with knowledge. Such insights will go a long way in building consumer confidence.”

“The GIA India Alumni Guest Session was truly knowledgeable and interesting. I was amazed by the beautiful quotes shared by Dr. Hayagriv, which was inspiring and effective,” said Sankesh Surana, GIA GG and a jewellery and lifestyle designer. One such quote was ‘In nature’s own words, you wear my beauty and I’ll wear yours’ was truly inspirational. I was enlivened by the history and royalty carried by CKC that motivates gemmologists and designers. I look forward to more such alumni events in the future.”

The GIA Alumni Association's mission is to reach, serve and engage GIA alumni through continuous networking; to encourage lifelong relationships and provide opportunities for continuing education. GIA has more than 135,000 alumni across 65 chapters worldwide.

“It was an excellent opportunity for the GIA alumni to interact to Dr. Hayagriv. I’d like to thank him for taking the time to connect with the alumni and share his wisdom and experience,” said Sriram Natarajan. “As the pioneers and the most respected institute for gemmological education, GIA is extremely proud to be able to reach and engage with its alumni. The virtual guest session received attendance in great numbers and it was a rewarding success witnessing the strength of the GIA alumni network. GIA India continues to support its alumni and will organise more programmes and guest sessions in the future.”