(CARLSBAD, Calif.) – It is with great sadness that GIA (Gemological Institute of America) announces the passing of Bert Krashes, former vice president and member of the Board of Governors, in January from natural causes. Krashes joined GIA in 1949, becoming vice president and director of the Gem Trade Laboratory in New York in 1977. Recognized as one of the Institute’s pioneers, he helped establish its East Coast school, laboratory, gem identification and grading services, and the “traveling classrooms” that took GIA education to jewelers across the United States.
“Bert will be missed for his significant contributions to GIA and to the gem and jewelry industry,” said Susan Jacques, GIA’s president and CEO. “His generosity and dedication helped countless students, staff and industry members, and for that we are exceptionally grateful.”
After receiving a Purple Heart for his service during World War II, Krashes became one of GIA’s first students in New York. Richard T. Liddicoat was so impressed with his “excellent work and keen questions,” that he offered Krashes a full-time position as an instructor and gemologist. He went on to become one of GIA’s most popular instructors, and helped lead the New York laboratory to international prominence.
“Bert had an engaging style that raised his esteem with all of his co-workers and the many students he touched. His dedication and high standards were key for GIA diamond grading reports to gain international respect and growth,” said Tom Moses, GIA’s executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer.
In 1998, after the GIA Board of Governors meeting during which Bert retired from the board, he was given a lapel pin featuring a diamond inscribed with the number 19491998, representing his 49 years of service to GIA.