Christian DiCamillo, GG(GIA) and Member NAJA is the President and head appraiser.
I started in the jewelry business in 1994 working for an uncle of mine who is a very well respected jeweler on Jewelers Row in Center City Philadelphia. I was exposed to some of the finest jewelry collections and more upscale designers in the trade while working for him; it was truly a learning experience. He was a great mentor; he treated me like a son, took me under his wing, and taught me about fair pricing and consumer-oriented skills.
Two of the most important things I learned from my uncle while in sales is 1) it is always about the customer and 2) the importance of repeat business, with the saying, “we are singles hitters, not home run hitters around here”. Because of that my uncle's business is still very successful today.
In my quest to know more about the products I was selling I took my first courses in the diamond grading courses offered by the GIA in 1998. I worked my way through them while working retail and finished in three months. But there was still so much more to know, so I pressed on into the world of colored stones, which ended up being the most interesting part of gemology. The many ways of identification are so intriguing. After about a year of these courses the retail was getting in my way with the gemology side that I wanted to further explore. I heard through the grapevine that Dave Atlas may have an opening, where I could learn from one of the most respected in the business and do it all day long.
In November of 1999 I went and spoke to David, and it scared me that he was a quiet guy. I have been known as the type that enjoys a lot of conversation and — being of the Italian descent, a bit louder than the average guy. David asked why I wanted to do this and how much money I expect. After we spoke on those subjects briefly, he said, ok, “when would you like to start? I’m willing to give it a shot if you are.” The following January I was an AGA employee.
Since then, with training from David Atlas, Michael Jordan and Ed Skinner, I have an extensive knowledge in the world of gemology and the “proper” ways of doing appraisals, and combined with the knowledge of retail pricing, and the ethics drilled into me by my uncle, I found it a great way to better serve clients and have some fun and laughs while we are at it.