By Michelle Graff
Bert Krashes
Carlsbad, Calif.--The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has announced the passing of former vice president and Board of Governors member Bert Krashes. He died of natural causes over the weekend at the age of 90.

Krashes became one of GIA’s first students in New York after World War II. He was offered a full-time position as an instructor and gemologist with the organization in 1949, and became the vice president and director of the Gem Trade Laboratory in New York in 1977.

“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.”

Krashes was one of the GIA’s most popular instructors, the organization said, and help lead the New York laboratory to international prominence.

He was regarded as one of the institute’s pioneers, helping establish its East Coast school, lab, gem identification and grading services and the “traveling classrooms” that allowed GIA education to reach jewelers across the country.

He retired from the GIA Board of Governors in 1998.

“Bert had an engaging style that raised his esteem with all of his co-workers and the many students he touched,” said Tom Moses, GIA’s executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer. “His dedication and high standards were key for GIA diamond grading reports to gain international respect and growth.” 

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