Accredited Gemologists Association award recognizes excellence in gemology
CARLSBAD, Calif. – Feb. 11, 2020 – Robert Weldon, director of the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library at GIA, received the 2020 Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology. Presented by the Accredited Gemologists Association (AGA), this award honors those who have made significant contributions to the field of gemology, including ongoing research, education and public outreach. The award was presented during AGA’s Gala Awards Ceremony in Tucson, AZ on Feb. 5.
“I am incredibly humbled to receive this honor. My career has been dedicated to telling the story of gems and jewelry - and the people who bring them to us - through photography, words and the science of gemology. It brings me immense joy to see the positive impact that sharing this knowledge and experience can have,” said Weldon.
In Weldon’s more than 30-year career, he has contributed photographs and articles featured in numerous gemological, jewelry and consumer publications. He was an integral part of creating GIA’s gem guide program for artisanal miners. He co-authored the “Selecting Gem Rough: A Guide for Artisanal Miners” and trained artisanal miners in East Africa on how to use the guide. Weldon shared updates about this program during a presentation at the AGA Conference.
“Robert’s gemological expertise, creative talent, deep understanding of visual and written communication and devotion to GIA’s mission have made him a valued leader at GIA and in the gem industry. We are thrilled that he received this recognition for his many significant contributions,” said Susan Jacques, GIA president and CEO.
Weldon has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville). After receiving his GIA GG in 1987, he spent three years working in the GIA library in Carlsbad. In 1990, Weldon joined JCK magazine as colored gemstone editor; he later joined Professional Jeweler as senior writer. Since returning to GIA in 2006, he has authored and co-authored feature articles and several shorter entries in Gems & Gemology, GIA’s quarterly professional journal. His photographs have appeared on more than 30 of its covers and featured prominently in several other articles. In 2017, he was named director of the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological library, succeeding the library’s founder, Dona Dirlam, upon her retirement.
Past and present GIA staff who have received the Antonio C. Bonanno Award include Al Gilbertson (2017), Dr. Cigdem Lule (2016), Dr. Emmanuel Fritsch (2013), Christopher Smith (2009), Dr. James Shigley (2008), Shane McClure (2007), G. Robert Crowningshield (2003) and John I. Koivula (2002).