ABOUT THE WEST AFRICAN GEM ACADEMY
Barickeh Charles Kholifa Koroma is a freelance gemmologist, diamond grader/valuer, a member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain and a member of the Scottish Gemmological Association. He was born in Liberia to Sierra Leonean parents and raised in the mineral rich country of Sierra Leone where he survived a devastating brutal civil war which lasted for almost 12 years, where he suffered a series of traumatic events. He relocated to the United Kingdom in 2004 and received help on how to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), this proves pivotal in his approach to life.
His educational background was in Information Technology (IT), he attained some diplomas in computer science and network engineering between 2004-2007 at Hackney Community College, London. In 2013, while working at Gagosian Art Gallery, he heard about a 125ct diamond which was discovered in Kono in the east of Sierra Leone that was taken abroad for grading and valuation. He had an epiphany then to become a diamond grader and valuer so that he would be in a position to help his beloved homeland whenever the need arose to eradicate any foul play.
He attended the coveted School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University (BCU) where he studied a diploma in diamonds (Gem-A) and a BSc (Hons) in Gemmology and Jewellery Studies. He graduated with a first-class degree in 2018 and was awarded the prestigious Scottish Gemmological Association Prize for Gemmology, he then moved back to Sierra Leone to pursue his dreams. His greatest achievement so far is working as a student mentor during his time at the university, he was able to give advice and guidance to some students that were struggling to cope with the demands of higher education and being away from home.
His ambition and innate desire to help his homeland and spread the knowledge he has gained to his fellow countrymen especially those involved in the production of gemstones, gemstones enthusiasts and those that want to make a career out of it is what brought him to the World Gem Foundation which helps to create a platform where that knowledge can be easily accessible through the establishment of The West African Gem Academy.
He is extremely appreciative and grateful to his family for their encouragement, support, undying belief and the sacrifices they have made throughout this chapter of his journey and the subsequent chapters to come.
In his leisure time, Barickeh likes to keep fit; he plays tennis, go for a run and practice a Korean martial art known as Tae Kwon Do. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, while watching football is at the top of his list.
ABOUT THE WORLD GEM FOUNDATION
The World Gem Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that was formed in 2015 with the mandate to provide quality and affordable gemmological training to students, jewellers and professional gemmologists.
Currently consisting of seventeen national and regional gem academies in the United Kingdom, Holland, the U.S, Canada, Spain, Belgium, France/Monaco/Switzerland, Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland), Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Republic of Kosovo, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovak Republic and Slovenia), East Africa (Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Somaliland, Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe), South Central Africa (Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa), West Africa (Ascension, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Togo, Tristan da Cunha), Central America (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica; Belize and Panama), South America (Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname), the Caribbean (Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands (U.K.), Cuba, Puerto Rico, Curaçao (Netherlands), Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos), Sri Lanka and India. We plan to establish more academies around the world in 2023.