D. Vincent Manson (1936–1999)


Gemmologist and geologist Dr. Vincent Manson described himself as a dreamer, but he had the initiative to make his visions into reality. Born, raised, and educated in South Africa, Manson worked as a research assistant in the De Beers Diamond Research Laboratory in Johannesburg before earning his PhD in geology from Columbia University in 1969. His work as the curator of gems and minerals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City led to several meetings with key GIA staff, including Richard Liddicoat, Eunice Miles, and Robert Crowningshield. Impressed by Manson’s abilities and respect for the Institute’s mission, Liddicoat offered him a position in Santa Monica.
 
Manson joined GIA as the director of research in 1976, setting up a new facility to generate original research and expand gemmological knowledge. He remained with GIA until his death in 1999, becoming director of education in 1985 and ending his career as director of strategic planning. In this capacity, he was instrumental in moving GIA’s headquarters and home campus to its current location in Carlsbad, California.
 
During Manson’s tenure, GIA’s research facility used state-of-the-art analytical equipment and created a database where natural, treated and synthetic gems could be documented and referenced. He continued to publish groundbreaking work on diamonds and coloured stones and served as associate editor of Gems & Gemology (Gems & Gemmology) for 19 years (1980–1999). He also served as a consultant to filmmakers who produced documentaries on geological formation. Building on his experience as a curator, he cultivated relationships with museums with notable gem collections. One such connection resulted in the celebrated “Nature of Diamonds” exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Natural History in 1999. In one of his most enduring contributions to the gemmological world, he helped establish the International Gemmological Symposium, which he chaired in 1982, 1991, and 1999. These contributions led to his posthumous receipt of the Richard T. Liddicoat Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.