Al Gilbertson, currently the project manager, cut research at the GIA, will receive the 2017 Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology at the end of the organization’s Tucson conference in February.
Al Gilbertson, currently Project Manager, Cut Research at the GIA, will receive the 2017 Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology at the end of the organization’s Tucson conference in February.

San Diego--The Accredited Gemologists Association has announced that Al Gilbertson of the Gemological Institute of America will receive the 2017 Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology.

The Bonanno Award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the gemological field. Recipients are selected by a majority vote of the AGA membership.

Gilbertson is Project Manager, Cut Research at the GIA’s Carlsbad laboratory, continuing an extensive career that includes contributions in appraisal science, color communication and cut research.

He is also an accomplished gem cutter who grew up in the lapidary business, according to the AGA.

Early in his career, Gilbertson lobbied members of the board of the American Gem Society to establish a new firm designation for independent jewelry appraisers.

In 1992, he and former GIA instructor Jim Coote were the first to receive, and help set the standards for, the Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser Firm designation. They were also the first independent appraisers to be awarded the title of Certified Gemologist Appraiser by the American Gem Society.

As well as being published, Gilbertson has presented a number of lectures and workshops for jewelers, gemologists and appraisers. He also has several patents pertaining to aspects of gem cutting and light performance.

As a member of the gemological committee that helped set up the AGS lab, he developed the tools that became the core of the AGS ASET light performance model.

The GIA hired Gilbertson in 2000 to be a part of its team to research diamond cut evaluation, and he became an important part of the group that created the institute’s cut grading system for round brilliant diamonds.

Currently, he is studying the influence of proportions and other factors on the appearance of fancy shape diamonds, working towards a cut grading system for them. His book, American Cut: The First 100 Years, is regarded as the standard work on the subject, AGA said.

“Al Gilbertson continues in a career that has already made an incredible impact on this industry. The generous manner in which he shares his knowledge with both student and veteran industry members alike is clearly appreciated by our members,” AGA President Stuart Robertson said.

The Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology will be presented at AGA’s gala dinner dance at the end of its Tucson conference on Wednesday, Feb. 1. at the Marriott University Park Hotel.

The award includes a personalized plaque and a $2,000 research honorarium funded by the AGA membership.

For additional information or to attend the conference or gala, visit or call 619-501-5444.

Previous recipients of the award include Cigdem Lule, Thomas Hainschwang, John Emmett, Emmanuel Fritsch, Thom Underwood, Stuart Robertson, Richard Hughes, Christopher Smith, James Shigley, Shane McClure, Richard Drucker, Alan Jobbins and Antoinette Matlins.

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