GIA research fellow awarded 2017 AGS Lifetime Achievement Award


Dr. James Shigley, GIA distinguished research fellow, is the recipient of the American Gem Society (AGS) 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. Shigley’s significant contributions to the industry were honored at the organization’s annual Circle of Distinction dinner held July 25 in New York City.


Introducing Dr. Shigley, John A. Green, president and CEO of Lux Bond & Green and past chair of the GIA Board of Governors, said, “Many of us are not familiar with Dr.James Shigley or have even met him, but the work that he has quietly documented and carefully researched helps our targeted industry every day. For more than 30 years, he has been widely recognized as the face of GIA research.”


“I am honored to accept this award, although I believe no one’s success is achieved alone,” said Shigley. “Whatever I have been fortunate enough to accomplish during my time at GIA is due to the many people I have been proud to call my colleagues for the last 35 years. So, I humbly accept this for them and for GIA’s research program.”


Shigley often represents the Institute around the world through lectures and articles on topics related to diamonds, colored stones and gem identification. His research has documented important gem localities, identified methods of separating natural diamonds from manmade diamonds and established the characteristics of HPHT synthetic diamonds. He has authored more than 180 articles for numerous publications.


“Dr. Shigley is a significant contributor to our research department, which underpins everything we do at the Institute – education, instrument development and laboratory services,” said Susan Jacques, president and CEO of GIA. “In addition to being a prolific contributor to gemological research and Gems & Gemology, he is a mentor to many of the young scientists and gemologists at GIA and is widely recognized as a global authority in gemology.”


In appreciation for the recognition by AGS of Dr. Shigley’s significant contributions to the industry, GIA will sponsor the Colored Stone Grading and Diamond Grading lab classes to be offered at AGS in Las Vegas in September this year. The sponsorship covers the cost of the GIA education resources.


Shigley received his undergraduate in geology from the University of California at Berkeley and then served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1971 to 1976. After retiring from the Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel, he earned his doctorate in geology from Stanford University. Shigley joined GIA in 1982 and helps direct GIA’s research activities on the identification of diamonds and colored gemstones. In addition to his research, he works with participants in the Richard T. Liddicoat Postdoctoral Research Associate Fellowship program, which offers early career scientists the opportunity to pursue full-time academic research in mineralogy, geology, physics, materials science and other fields related to gemology at GIA.


Other GIA staff who have received the AGS Lifetime Achievement Award include Robert Crowningshield (2003) and Richard T. Liddicoat (2001).

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