By Brecken Branstrator

San Francisco--Luxury consignment retailer The RealReal has announced a partnership with the University of Arizona to create a gemology degree program.

The RealReal is funding an endowed chair in the university’s College of Science, designed to help the school develop new research and technology.

Through the endowment, the school will offer an undergraduate program as well as a graduate program for master’s and PhD students, focused on gemological research, education and skills.

According to a company spokesperson, the proposed conceptual curriculum for the undergraduate students will include general geoscience required classes, with additional gem-specific courses (which have yet to be developed) as well as business, marketing and law courses.

The graduate program will include the typical requirement for a grad degree in geosciences--for master’s degrees this includes a certain amount of classes plus a research paper. A PhD consists of additional classes plus at least three research papers.

The spokesperson added that there has been discussion about developing industry-based workshops and summer short-course sessions, which would include technical training with a practical component. These programs will be developed as needed. 

The RealReal also has announced a partnership among it, the University of Arizona and the Gemmological Association of Great Britain to provide students the chance to receive their individual gemology certification.

The company said they see this certification as similar to that obtained by students of law, engineering or the like, serving to demonstrate to the trade that the student has the practical skills expected of them.

Students will have the choice of adding this trade certification to their studies to go along with the degree program. All testing and qualifications would be done in accordance with and under direct control of Gem-A, The RealReal said.

The new degree program will be located in Tucson, Arizona. Students will learn on campus and in state-of-the-art labs located in the University of Arizona’s new Gem and Mineral Museum in the city’s downtown area.

This is not only a new program for the university but also for the country, The RealReal claims, as no other model exists like it at research universities in the U.S.

The expected date for this to begin has yet to be decided; once the chair position is finalized, the program could be in place as early as the following semester, the company s

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