A Legacy of Learning

This month’s blog is dedicated to the remarkable recipients of the William Goldberg GIA Scholarship Fund. Created in 2004 to honor our father and legendary diamantaire, William Goldberg, this annual scholarship awards $10,000 to a deserving student to be used toward any on-campus GIA gemology program.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has long been recognized as the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones and pearls, and the leading source of knowledge, standards and education in gems and jewelry. Over the years, the William Goldberg GIA Scholarship Fund has helped a number of exemplary individuals achieve their dreams.

When we hear from the recipients of this scholarship and learn about the ways in which it has changed their lives, we can’t help but think of one of our father’s insightful quotes: “What is true of people is also true of diamonds: The greatest beauty is that which comes from deep within.” He was a great teacher and loved to educate the world about diamonds and their beauty. 

Here are excerpts from just a few of the beautiful stories that have been shared with us by scholarship recipients throughout the years: 

Thomas Jenkins - GIA Scholarship Recipient

“I would like to share my gratitude for your contribution, and tell you a little bit about what I am doing with my education now and in the near future. I am also a Veteran of the United States Navy, and will be attending additional classes at GIA to gain knowledge and experience from the foremost authority in Gemology. This education and experience at GIA will be used to pursue with my wife, Taylor Jenkins, a family business to realize our ideal purpose – to work together to make custom jewelry that people will appreciate and cherish for a lifetime. Without you, we would not be as far as we are today, and we are very grateful for you.” 

2016 recipient Thomas Jenkins

Stephanie Tafoya - GIA Scholarship Recipient

“While attending GIA I obtained my Graduate Colored Stones degree by successfully identifying over 2,500 colored gemstones. This opportunity ended up being a tremendously knowledgeable and uplifting experience in my life. I am now happily employed at Ortega’s on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have also made it a priority to apprentice, design and fabricate my own jewelry with the intent of one day showcasing my own work at Ortega's. The William Goldberg Scholarship enabled me to truly achieve greatness; they supported me when nobody else would and for that, I am forever grateful.”

2014 recipient Stephanie Tafoya

Kaila Kulka Portal - GIA Scholarship Recipient

“My journey into this wonderful industry began because of my mother. She started her jewelry business two months before she found out she was pregnant with me; the store and I have grown up together. After receiving my GG from GIA, I became one of two Graduate Gemologists (the other being my mother) in our store. I had a new sense of confidence with my selling because I knew for a fact that what I was saying was correct. My GIA education has given me so many unique opportunities. I attend most of the buying shows throughout the year, and am the primary buyer. I have been asked to participate on a board that is being developed to include ten of the next generation jewelry store owners. I feel very fortunate to be able to be a part of this amazing group of jewelers. Thank you again for giving me such a great advantage, and such a love for what I do.”

2013 recipient Kaila Kulka Portell

Nathan Renfro - GIA Scholarship Recipient

“In July 2007 I completed my Graduate Gemologist coursework from GIA. I was hired by the GIA that same year and have been heavily involved in colored stone research and have extensively lectured on gemological topics. I am quite active in GIA’s quarterly journal “Gems and Gemology” where I currently serve as the editor for the G&G’s quarterly column “Microworld,” a project started a couple of years ago with John Koivula and Elise Skalwold. I also am involved in G&G’s editorial review board. Currently, I am the Gemological Manager of the Gem Identification department at GIA’s Carlsbad location.”

2007 recipient Nathan Renfro

We are honored to have played a part in these inspiring stories. These amazing individuals represent all that is good about our industry. They are our future, and we wish them only the best. 

– The Goldberg Family