By Brecken Branstrator
Now the director of GIA’s gemological library and information center, his contributions to gemology are “simply incomparable,” the association said.
San Diego—The Accredited Gemologists Association has announced the recipient of its Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology for 2020: GIA’s Robert Weldon.

Weldon currently serves as the director of the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library & Information Center at the Gemological Institute of America.

“Robert’s contributions to the field of gemology are simply incomparable,” AGA President Stuart Robertson said.

Throughout his career, Weldon has taught gemology, worked as a journalist at both JCK and Professional Jeweler, photographed some of the most important gem and jewelry collections and published and lectured extensively on numerous gemological issues.

“Yet in each phase of his career one can clearly see a common thread—Robert has strived to give a voice to some of the most economically vulnerable members of the trade by extending an opportunity to tell their story,” Robertson said.

“We see this again in his role as part of GIA’s initiative training small scale miners to better understand the basic quality and value factors of the rough they mine.”

Robertson said Weldon embodies everything the Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology represents.

“As with Mr. Bonanno, it was not just about knowledge and discoveries, but also the willingness to generously share information with other gemologists. Weldon has the gift for pointing a lens at a gemstone but telling the story of each person that touched that stone as it traveled through the market, thus empowering each to appreciate the value of their contribution.”

The AGA will present the Bonanno Award at its gala dinner dance at the conclusion of its Tucson conference, slated for Wednesday, Feb. 5 at the Tucson Marriott University Park Hotel.

The conference will run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the gala will go from 6 to 11 p.m.

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

Last year, the AGA gave the award to multiple recipients for only the second time in its 45-year history, honoring Donna Hawrelko, Alberto Scarani, Mikko Åström and Karl Schmetzer.

Other past recipients include Cigdem Lule, Thomas Hainschwang, Richard Hughes, Christopher Smith, James Shigley, Antoinette Matlins and the late G. Robert Crowningshield.

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