Precious Stones Proving Popular Subject at NUI Galway

Jun 26 2008 Posted: 00:00 IST
The fascinating subject of precious gemstones is proving popular among students of the Diploma in Gemmology at NUI Galway. The part-time programme, which is the only course of its kind in the country, is part of an innovative Scientific Studies Diploma Series aimed at adult learners. The Diploma provides students with a broad introduction to the study of gemstones by covering a range of laboratory based techniques used for their identification. "The emphasis of this course is on the practical side of gemmology with a scientific twist, although no previous knowledge is required," explains Course Director, Dr Martin Feely. "This is particularly useful for jewellers who want to learn more about the origin and formation of the stones they sell. The first hour of each weekly class involves a lecture while the rest of the session is devoted to the practical examination of over 200 gemstones, from diamonds to rubies, emeralds and sapphires." He added, "We also have specialist equipment available for the students to use so that they can see how gemstones are cut. Students are given an excellent background of the genesis of gemstones, and learn how the natural crystals form in the Earth's crust. On the course, students include people with degrees in geology, but also those with no previous academic qualifications, just a real interest in the subject and wish to learn." Another course in the Scientific Studies Series is the Diploma in Geology which provides an introduction to the science of geology for people interested in the landscape and the general outdoors. Subjects covered on this two-year course include Evolution of the Earth, The Human Perspective, and Hazards and the Environment. Dr. Kathryn Moore, Lecturer at the Department of Earth and Ocean Science and Course Director, says previous students of the course have revelled in the heavy emphasis placed on field trips throughout the programme. "It's a very sociable academic course for anyone that has a genuine interest in the outdoors. Past students have used the Diploma to enhance their career prospects and the course may also prove useful to geography teachers in secondary schools that now have to include geology in their teaching curriculum, or engineers looking for geological knowledge and understanding." Application forms and further information on both courses are available from the Adult and Continuing Education Office on 091 492062 or by emailing


Featured Stories