Frequently Asked Questions


Sunday, October 7 through Tuesday, October 9, 2018.
Additional events and educational offerings will be announced in 2018.

The 2018 Symposium will be held at Sheraton and Westin Carlsbad Resort and Spa (5480 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008) are the host hotels for the 2018 GIA Symposium and provide. The Westin will open June 2018 on the Sheraton property allowing easy access to and from GIA World Headquarters from both properties.

"New Challenges. Creating Opportunities." is the theme of the 2018 GIA Symposium. Two parallel tracks are offered. GIA Research Track will feature oral presentations, panels and poster sessions of innovative research projects. The Harvard Business Track is where Harvard Business School (HBS) professors lead an exploration into the themes Authentic Leadership, Disruptive Innovation and Customer Centricity using the famed case-study method employed in all HBS programs

Presentations by prominent scientists and industry experts, world-renowned keynote speakers, global, multi-disciplinary participation; a gala the evening of October 7, "Robert T. Liddicoat Centennial Celebration" - celebrating the Father of Modern Gemology; and a closing “war room”- a fast-paced exchange on hot topics among experts in various arenas.

2018 will be the sixth. Prior Symposia were held in 1982, 1991, 1999, 2006 and 2011

Registration includes admission to GIA Symposium sessions, continental breakfasts, grab-and-go lunches, the Sunday evening gala being held at GIA and the Tuesday cocktail reception.

Yes. Email for assistance.

Individuals canceling between January 1, 2018 and September 7, 2018 will receive a refund or credit, less a $95 USD nonrefundable cancellation fee. There are no refunds or credits for any Symposium-related activities after September 7, 2018.

For the HBS Program, no refunds or credits of the $150 fee will be offered after August 10, 2018 (once access is given to the pre-reading materials).

All cancellation notices must be made in writing to GIA.

Business or business casual attire for all daytime events. Business or festive attire for the "Richard T. Liddicoat Centennial Celebration" gala. San Diego weather in October normally experiences daytime temperatures averaging 70 degrees and nighttime lows at around 57 degrees. Since some sessions and the Sunday dinner will be held in an outdoor tent where temperature cannot always be regulated, we suggest you bring a jacket or sweater with you.

Yes, there is an app available for smartphones and tablets. The mobile app contains useful information including the event program, a list of speakers and poster presenters, and important event notifications.

Getting the Symposium app is easy. Here’s how:

  1. Download the app:
    • Apple users can click here or search eventsair in the Apple App Store.
    • Android users can click here or search eventsair in your Android App Store.
    • Windows Phones and Blackberry users can click here.
  2. Install the App.
  3. The first time you open the app, enter this event code: 2018-SYMPOSIUM
  4. Once the app opens, you will be asked to login. To log in, enter your email address that you registered with and your personal four-digit App Pin that has been emailed to you. You can also request a new pin.
  5. Once you are logged in, you will stay logged in unless you choose to log out.
  6. Be sure to allow notifications from the app to get alerts from the Symposium team. You’ll only receive notifications if you are logged in, so be sure to stay logged in.

If you are installing on a Windows Phone or Blackberry, don’t forget to add or “pin” the app to your homescreen.

Travel & Accomodations

The Symposium will be held at The Westin Carlsbad Resort and Spa. For easy access to Symposium sessions and events, we recommend staying at the host hotel. Easy event access is also provided by the adjacent Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa. Discounted rates have been arranged at both hotels.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) – 90 miles from GIA
San Diego International Airport (SAN) – 33 miles from GIA

Carlsbad McClellan-Palomar Airport (CLD) – 3.25 miles from GIA
Long Beach Airport (LGB) – 74 miles from GIA
Orange County John Wayne Airport (SNA) – 54.9 miles from GIA

Amtrak has a station in Oceanside, which is 7 miles from GIA. There is also the Coaster commuter rail service that is 4 miles from GIA and runs along the coast from San Diego to Oceanside with two stops in Carlsbad.

Airport shuttle services – SuperShuttle; car rental companies – Budget, Enterprise, or Hertz; local bus service connecting Carlsbad with other cities in San Diego – North County Transit; taxi services – follow on-site signage for pick up detail; ride share services, such as Uber and Lyft – refer to individual airports for Ride Share availability and practices; and Tesloop – chauffeured city to city travel in a Tesla fleet, providing major airport service.

Ride share and taxicab services are recommended.

Please inquire about child care services with the concierge at your selected hotel. Be certain to make arrangements prior to your arrival in Carlsbad.

International Travel

It is not required for an applicant to have the letter. Submitting proof of your registration for the symposium should be sufficient. Guidance about business travel can be found on the U.S. Department of State; U.S. Embassy; and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web sites with details about visiting the U.S. The U.S. Consulate will look more at how the applicant will utilize the information from the symposium and how it benefits their business rather than the invitation letter from GIA.
We encourage you to determine your visa needs at the U.S. Department of State web site. The U.S, Department of State is the governing body responsible for determining necessary entry documentation and will have each country’s individual requirements.

Attendees are welcome to attend all of the sessions in either the Harvard Business Track or GIA Research Track. However, in order to receive the Harvard Business School certification of program completion, an attendee must register and pay an additional $150 fee, attend all Symposium business track sessions, read and participate in all case studies, and attend Monday's orientation and Tuesday's discussion groups during Symposium. HBS Program registrants will also receive priority seating at all Business Track sessions.

Participation in the HBS Program requires an additional $150 fee, attendance at all Symposium Harvard Business Track sessions, reading and completing all pre-reading case studies, and attending Monday's orientation and Tuesday's discussion group during Symposium. HBS Program registrants will also receive priority seating at all Harvard Business Track sessions. HBS certificates of program completion will be awarded to those who complete all program requirements.

Yes. Email for assistance.

To provide attendees with the most up-to-date industry information, Symposium Research themes are not finalized until a few months before the event date. Research, however, generally falls into six categories:

  1. Diamond Identification
  2. Colored Stone/Pearl Identification
  3. Gem Localities and Gem Formation
  4. Gem Characterization
  5. General Gemology
  6. New Technologies and Techniques

A poster presentation, at a conference with an academic or professional focus, displays research information in the form of a poster board containing photos, graphs, illustrations, and a small amount of text. Conference participants may view these at their leisure or engage in face-to-face discussions with the poster presenter. A poster session is an event at which many such posters are presented.

GIA will be accepting abstracts through June 1, 2018. Submit your Abstract now.

Travel grants will be available to selected presenters at the 2018 GIA Symposium. Eligibility is contingent on preparing an acceptable abstract for oral or poster presentation at the conference. Travel grants will be awarded based on the technical merit of the proposed presentation and the financial need of the presenter.

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