July 25, 2002
Liddicoat Dead at 84
Richard T. Liddicoat, a force in American gemology, died July 23. He spent more than 60 years at the Gemological Institute of America, Carlsbad, CA, where his most recent positions were chairman of the board of governors and chief editor of Gems & Gemology, GIA's scientific journal. He was chief editor for 50 years.
Hired in 1940 by GIA founder Robert M. Shipley, Liddicoat quickly progressed to director of education before leaving GIA to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After military service, he returned to GIA and was named director of education and research. In 1947, he published the Handbook of Gem Indentification, which continues to be a widely used gemology textbook and is in its 12th edition.
In 1952, Liddicoat was named executive director of GIA, prior to working with a group of scientists to develop the GIA diamond-grading system, the now-standard system used by gemologists around the world. In 1955, he oversaw the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory's first diamond grading reports. During the 1960s, he coauthored several books, including The Diamond Dictionary and The Jewelers' Manual. In the 1970s, Liddicoat expanded GIA's reach globally, with gemology courses taught first in Japan and Israel. He also created the GIA Research Department.
Liddicoat stepped down as president of GIA in 1983 and was named chairman of the board of governors. In 1989, GIA honored him with the dedication of the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center. Among the many honors and awards he received over the course of his lifetime were GIA's League of Honor Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995 and the American Gem Society's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.
by Peggy Jo Donahue and Robert Weldon, G.G.