Where Gemology Comes Alive
Far East Gem Institute came into formal existence in the year 2000 but our history and contributions to the jewellery industry, stretch much further back.
Approached by many jewellers after he founded the Far East Gemological Laboratory in 1988, Mr. Tay Thye Sun started classes to share his extensive knowledge. Soon after, the jewellers requested for him to train their children, poising the heirs to take over the business.
As the classes expanded and the student-base grew, the reputation of our education centre did too. Just two years after, in 1990, internationally prominent names like Bvlgari and Tiffany & Co. sent their staff to be trained. Beginning in 1994, locally distinguished brands like Lee Hwa – Aspial began to do the same. Our clientele eventually grew to include names like Chopard, Van Cleef & Arpels, On Cheong, Poh Heng and Tian Po, just to name a few.
By the year 2000, many goldsmiths, pawnbrokers and custom officers were even counted in our graduates as their jobs required them to have in-depth knowledge of gems.
And it was in this very year that the Far East Gem Institute came into being.
The Institute grew even as the jewellery industry matured. Far East Gem Institute began to focus on the retailers as we strongly believed in a future for the young in retail jewellery. Our course contents were systematic with strong foundations in scientific details. Theory classes were always accompanied by practical ones. Classes were lively, engaging and filled with real-life examples shared by our internationally experienced trainers. Retailers could now walk away from the class and explain detailed quality and pricing effectively, a sure benefit for their customers.
The focus on retail was a success. In 2004, we teamed up with Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to provide further training to the industry. By then, more than three quarters of our students were from jewellery retail stores and we would frequently conduct in-house classes for jewellery stores or pawnshops. We became the de facto institute for human resource managers when they send their staff for gemological training because of our passion for education and our dedicated trainers.
The collaboration with SP eventually led to us co-launching the Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) jewellery retail course in 2010. The courses were both subsidised and locally recognised, thus enabling even more to be trained.
Over the years, our reach has extended beyond the industry and the local shores. Doctors, lawyers, media personalities and such came to be educated on their precious collections. Trainees also came from around the region, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, Philippines, India and Australia.
We now have a rich heritage behind us. Yet, we look forward to the future, one that will continue to grow and mature with the vibrant jewellery industry.