By Brecken Branstrator
Didier Giard, president of the French Association of Gemmology, died May 3 at the age of 68.
Paris—Didier Giard, president of the French Association of Gemmology, died May 3, the organization reported on its website.

He was 68 years old.

Giard was checked into the hospital for what was meant to be a minor surgery, but his health quickly deteriorated, and he died after a three-day battle in the hospital. 

Giard was born in Saint-Mandé, France on October 12, 1951.

After his business studies and apprenticeships in the jewelry trade, he took over the family jewelry manufacturing business, Maison Giard, started by his great-grandfather in 1887.

He stepped into the position of President of the French Association of Gemmology (AFG) in 1997.

During that time, he aimed to teach the history of stones and bring visibility to such topics as ethics in mining. He managed the association’s Gemology Review AFG publication and organized almost 20 Rendez-Vous Gemmologiques de Paris conferences.

He was concerned with talking about developments in gemstone source countries, and field gemologist Vincent Pardieu, who was helping him plan the next conference, told National Jeweler it was going to have a focus on Africa.

Giard also organized trips to gem-producing areas for the association every two years.

“We became good friends, and we were regularly meeting for lunch in Paris to discuss (the conference), the next AFG travels, gemstones and their geopolitics,” Pardieu said. “I will miss these discussions with him a lot.”

Giard’s other industry roles included co-president of the first World Ruby Forum in Bangkok in 2017, former vice president of the French Union of Jewelry, Silverware, Stones & Pearls and chairman of the Manufacturers Jewelers Group.

Albert Robinson, who worked with Giard to promote last year’s gemological conference and speaker lineup, said he “found him to be a gentle and pleasant man.”

He added Giard knew the worlds of diamonds and gemstones “inside out” and held a high industry standing showcased in his ability to attract major industry figures to his event.

In addition to his roles in the gem and jewelry world, he also was a specialist in geopolitics and international trade. He was a foreign trade adviser, lecturer, publisher of field reports in Le Figaro Magazine, sportsman and avid traveler.

AFG called him an “eclectic, smiling and charming man.”

“We are overwhelmed by this terrible and unexpected news,” it said in a statement announcing Giard’s death.

The association added: “In these dramatic circumstances, we will first have a thought for Isabelle, his wife, and all her family to whom we offer our sincere condolences.”

A ceremony will be organized in a few months; the association said it would share details about it at that time.

TAGS:   Obituaries
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