Gemological Institute Of America honours Dr. James Shigley


The Gemological Institute Of America (GIA) bestowed its highest honour, the Richard T. Liddicoat Award for Distinguished Achievement, on Dr. James E. Shigley, GIA distinguished research fellow, for his many contributions to gemological research and the Institute’s mission. The award, named in honour of GIA’s second president Richard T. Liddicoat, recognizes those who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to furthering the Institute’s mission.

In his more than 30 years at the Gemological Institute Of America, Dr. Shigley has been widely recognized as the face and voice of GIA research. Representing the Institute around the world, he has lectured and published extensively on diamonds, coloured stones and gem identification. His work solidified the Institute’s reputation for groundbreaking research.

“Mr. Liddicoat believed deeply that GIA should have a strong research department, and thanks to Dr. Shigley’s work – from the very inception of his career – this vision is fulfilled,” said Tom Moses, GIA executive vice president of laboratory and research. “Dr. Shigley’s selfless sharing of knowledge leaves a lasting legacy, not only for GIA but for the gem and jewellery industry.”

Shigley is a prolific contributor to gemological research. His studies identified methods of separating natural from laboratory-grown diamonds, documented important gem localities and established characteristics of HPHT laboratory-grown diamonds. Shigley was instrumental in the creation of the GIA Gem Project, a collection of 2,800 stones (representing 225 minerals) from the Edward J. Gübelin Collection that is used for research, education and display.

Since 1984, he had authored or coauthored 195 scientific articles, including 79 for Gems & Gemology (G&G); 27 of those received the journal’s Most Valuable Article award. He serves as a contributing editor for G&G, and as the editor of the G&G in Review book series.

Shigley’s contributions earned industry recognition, including The Dr. Edward J. Gübelin Most Valuable Article Award (1998), AGA’s Antonio Bonnano Award for Excellence in Gemology (2007) and the AGS Lifetime Achievement Award (2017).

The Richard T. Liddicoat Award for Distinguished Achievement has only been given to 13 people since it started in 1994. Several recipients are still at GIA today – Kathryn Kimmel, senior vice president and chief marketing officer; John Koivula, analytical microscopist; and Tom Moses, executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer.

About Gemological Institute Of America

An independent nonprofit organization, GIA (Gemological Institute of America), established in 1931, is recognized as the world’s foremost authority in gemology. GIA invented the famous 4Cs of Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight and, in 1953, created the International Diamond Grading System™ which is recognized around the world as the standard for diamond quality.

Through research, education, gemological laboratory services and instrument development, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gems and jewellery by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science and professionalism. Visit