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The AGA Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology (About the award...)

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Gary Roskin


Due to COVID related cancellations, the 2022 Bonanno award will be formally presented at our next Tucson Gala - hopefully on 2/1/2023.

2022 - Gary A. Roskin, GG (GIA), FGA

Gary Roskin, graduate gemologist, author, journalist, and one of the world’s most highly regarded authorities in the art and science of diamond grading, is now the Chief Executive Officer for the International Colored Gemstone Association, the ICA.

As the author of Photo Masters for Diamond Grading, Gary Roskin provided jewelers and appraisers with an invaluable resource for diamond grading. Former Senior Gemstone Editor for JCK Magazine (1997-2009), Gemstone Editor for the Baselworld Daily News (2010-2015), and for the Roskin Gem News Report (2009-2015), Roskin has covered the international colored gems market, as well as gemological subjects on colorless to fancy color diamonds, and the estate gemstone/jewelry market for well-over two decades.

Roskin is a Graduate Gemologist (GIA) and Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (FGA). In 2002, Roskin received the International Society of Appraisers’ Media Award for his feature story entitled, Bad Appraising Lands Good Jeweler in Court. Roskin was awarded several Richard T. Liddicoat Journalism Awards Honorable Mentions from the American Gem Society in 2004 and in 2011, he earned 2nd place in Gems & Gemology’s 2010 Dr. Edward J. Gübelin Most Valuable Article Award, as a co-author of Synthetic Gem Materials in the 2000s: A Decade in Review.

Roskin began his career as a fourth-generation retail jeweler in Marion, Indiana in 1976 when he traveled to Santa Monica, CA to attend GIA at the urging of his father. Upon completion of the Graduate Gemologist program, Roskin worked at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) from 1977 to 1992. First as Assistant to the Director of the Los Angeles GIA Gem Trade Lab before moving on to resident gemology instructor in both diamond grading and colored stone / gem identification, and finally as Executive Director of the GIA Alumni Association. From 1992 through 1997, Roskin was Assistant Director of the European Gem Lab in Los Angeles. From 2009 to 2017, he taught gemology as an adjunct professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Jewelry Design Department in New York City while serving as a Practical Tutor for the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A).

During his time at GIA, Roskin worked for and with some of the great gemologists and Bonanno Award recipients including: Richard Liddicoat, Bob Crowningshield, John Koivula, Shane McClure, and Jim Shigley. Two of Gary’s former students have been honored with the Bonanno award, Chris Smith, and Robert Weldon.

Highlights of Roskin’s career include the opportunity to quality grade the Black Orlov diamond (approx. 67.5 carats Natural Black), attending and reporting on several of the Argyle Pink Diamond Tenders, and an invitation to attend the gemological study of the two blues, the Fancy Deep Greyish-Blue Hope Diamond and the Fancy Deep Blue Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond at the Smithsonian.

Robert Weldon

2020 - Robert Weldon

Robert Weldon is the Director of the RTL Gemological Library & Information Center at GIA.

"Robert's contributions to the field of gemology are simply incomparable," stated AGA president Stuart Robertson. During his career Robert has taught gemology, worked as a journalist at both JCK and Professional Jeweler, he has photographed some of the most important gem and jewelry collections known and he has published and lectured extensively on wide range of 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. 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," said Robertson.

When notified of the award, Robert stated, "I'm humbled by this incredible honor. Long ago, I set out to be a very different kind of gemologist. I focus on gems of course, but also on the colorful personalities of the industry, exploring people's successes, challenges, needs, and dreams. Through photography, I hope to celebrate the great beauty of gemstones. As a writer, my goal is to inform and entertain: not only about gems, but also the remarkable individuals who mine, trade, and wear these beautiful objects of the earth. As a librarian, a new perspective for me involves the fascinating gemological and human records of the gemstone industry. In a sense it is what my career has been about from the very beginning."

Robertson noted that Robert 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."

2019 - Donna Hawrelko, Alberto Scarani and Mikko Åström & Dr. Karl Schmetzer

In an unprecedented move, the Accredited Gemologists Association is pleased to announce three categories for the 2019 Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology

The Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology is an internationally respected honor conferred to people who have made important contributions in the field. This year is particularly exciting for the AGA since it is only the second time in the association's forty-five year history in which multiple recipients have been recognized in the same year. It is with great pleasure that the AGA announces the following 2019 Antonio C. Bonanno Award Recipients:

Donna Hawrelko

Donna Hawrelko, Gemmology & Jewellery Program Coordinator & Instructor at Vancouver Community College

Donna is awarded for her significant contribution to the field of gemological education and her commitment to generations of gemology students.

As a leading figure in the international gemological community, Donna has focused on developing course manuals, and materials while teaching gemology to an international student body at the Gemmology and Jewellery departments at Vancouver Community College, where she has served as instructor since 1992, and Program Coordinator since 2005. She has educated thousands of students, some of whom now hold prominent positions in the gem industry worldwide. She was instrumental in developing the Canadian Gemmological Association (CGA) program, and served as Chief Examiner, Director of Education, and later became the president of CGA in 2015. The CGA reestablished its historic alliance with Gem-A through her efforts in 2017. Donna is also past president of AGA and was an influential figure during her tenure helping to reshape the AGA into the internationally respected organization that it is today.

Alberto Scarani and Mikko Åström

Alberto Scarani and Mikko Åström, Co-founders of MAGI Labs

Alberto and Mikko are recognized for their work in computerized spectroscopy. Alberto's fascination with gemology led him to explore possibilities for adapting advanced testing methods to gemology, an area where partner Mikko has extensive knowledge. Their company produces instruments designed specifically for use by gemologists. This was most notable from their Gemmoraman system, a major breakthrough for gemologists and appraisers as it placed portable and reliable Raman & Photoluminescence spectroscopy capabilities at their fingertips.

Prior to this, such technology and the detailed database critical to accurate results were typically only accessible through universities and major laboratories. Alberto Scarani and Mikko Åström have helped make advanced gem testing accessible to the broader gemological community, while filling a gap that currently exists in some gemology course work. They are dedicated to teaching advanced testing techniques to gemologists around the world and now have a course at HRD Antwerp. Their efforts are better equipping gemologists for the challenges of an evolving market.

Dr. Karl Schmetzer

Dr. Karl Schmetzer, Renowned Research Gemologist

Dr. Schmetzer is awarded for over 50 years dedicated to research in the mineralogical and gemological fields and sharing his discoveries globally through an astounding body of work, and for serving in leadership roles with CIBJO and other organizations to help raise professional standards for the global gem and jewelry industry yielding new discoveries and insights into these sciences.

He has generously shared his findings through an unparalleled body of work, including almost 400 papers, two books, and presentations around the world. He has also served in leadership roles with CIBJO and other organizations to help raise professional standards for the global gem and jewelry industry.

2018 - Dr. William "Bill" Hanneman

Dr. William "Bill" Hanneman

Dr. William "Bill" Hanneman

Dr. Hanneman's contributions to the gemological community are many. From education to his various innovative tools, Bill Hanneman's body of work is of profound benefit to gemology. "Dr. Hanneman has dedicated decades to providing gemologists with practical solutions to many of gemology's big challenges. It would difficult to think of anyone more deserving of this recognition," said AGA President Stuart Robertson.

Bill Hanneman exemplifies what the AGA Bonanno Award represents: gemological expertise and excellence in gemological practice, research, and education, and a dedication to sharing gemological knowledge through formal teaching and professional collaboration. Dr. Hanneman has authored a number of books, including: Guide To Affordable Gemology, Pragmatic Spectroscopy for Gemologists, Diamond Cut Grading Simplified, and Naming Gem Garnets, all of which were motivated by Bill's desire to make gemological information affordable and thereby assessable to anyone interested in exploring the subject.

Hanneman's many tools are notable because they filled a gap for something portable, affordable, & practical. They include the Diamond Eye, a reflectivity meter providing RIs for gems that with RI values over 1.80; the Diamond Eye provided readings for such gems as diamond and synthetic moissanite, CZ and other diamond look-alikes. Another Hanneman tool provided not only an RI, but birefringence and dispersion for faceted gems, with RI values up to 2.37 (and without the need for toxic liquids). His color filters, developed in collaboration with Alan Hodgkinson, provided quick and easy pre-screening ID, and his specific gravity balance was the first to provide direct readings, even for gems weighing under one carat.

Dr. Hanneman's work parallels that of Mr. Bonanno's distinguished career, it's a life-long body of exceptional work inspired by a desire to share his work and knowledge with gemologists everywhere, students and professionals alike. His contributions to the field of gemology have had a tangible impact on gemologists, universally.

2017 - Al Gilbertson

Al Gilbertson - 2017 AGA Bonanno Award Recipient
Al Gilbertson

Image, Courtesy/Copyright GIA

Mr. Gilbertson is Project Manager, Cut Research at the GIA Carlsbad Laboratory, continuing an extensive career with contributions in appraisal science, color communication and cut research. Al is also an accomplished gem cutter having grown up in the lapidary business.

Earlier in his career, Al lobbied members of the board for the American Gem Society to establish a new firm designation for independent jewelry appraisers. In 1992 Al and Jim Coote (former instructor for GIA) were the first to receive, and helped set the standards for the Independent Certified Gemologist-Appraiser Firm (ICGA) designation. They were also the first independent appraisers to be awarded the title of Certified Gemologist-Appraiser by AGS.

Al is well-published and has presented numerous lectures and workshops for jewelers, gemologists and appraisers. He is an inventor, with several patents pertaining to aspects of gem cutting and light performance. Al was on the gemological committee that helped set up the AGS lab. Tools he developed became the core of the AGS ASET light performance model. GIA hired Al in 2000 to be part of GIA's team researching diamond cut evaluation. Al was an important part of the team that created GIA's cut grading system for the round brilliant. He is currently studying the influence of proportions and other factors on the appearance of fancy shape diamonds, working towards a cut grading system for fancy-shaped diamonds. His book, American Cut —The First 100 Years is highly regarded as the standard work on the subject.

"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," stated AGA president Stuart Robertson. On notification that he was to receive the award, Al expressed his appreciation while noting, "This is certainly unexpected. I am fortunate to know and have worked with more deserving gemologists. I'm humbled by this recognition and thank the members of the AGA."

American Cut - The First 100 Years (GIA digital library archives)

2016 - Dr. Cigdem Lule

Dr. Cigdem Lule - 2016 AGA Bonanno Award Recipient

Dr. Cigdem Lule

Cigdem is recognized for her significant contributions to the field of gemology, among which her research involving the identification of gem findings from archaeological sites, with an emphasis on geologic and geographic origin investigation, was particularly noteworthy. Her subject, known as archaeogemology, examines ancient gems from the mineralogical and gemological point of view in order to better understand ancient civilizations and their interactions. She contributed two essays to the book, Gems of Heaven: Recent Research on Engraved Gemstones in Late Antiquity c. AD 200-600., published by the British Museum.

Dr. Lule's contributions to the literature include various articles on gemological nomenclature, general gemology and archaeogemology. She is passionate about sharing her interest in these subjects, lecturing internationally at gemological, geological and archaeological symposia and conferences. AGA vice-president Teri Brossmer notes, "Cigdem inspires both novice and veteran gemologists alike through classes and lectures that exhibit her knowledge of gemology and mineralogy as well as her passion for science and ancient history. Her ability to bring ancient civilizations and their cultures to life through her study of the gemstones and jewelry collected from archaeological digs reminds us all of mankind's enchantment with gemstones stretching thousands of years."

Cigdem's approach to gemology is straight forward—"Clear communication is dependent on establishing an acceptable gemological nomenclature and continuing education. Our learning must evolve with the challenges of the gem trade." Cigdem is also regarded for her work developing and teaching practical gemology workshops designed for appraisers and gemologists. The educational content of these hands-on workshops focuses on how ever-changing market dynamics affect the marketability and price structure of gemstones. She is also the technical advisor of the World of Color, color communication system, and contributing editor of the GemGuide's Gem Market News.

On notification that she was to receive the award, Cigdem expressed her appreciation while noting, "It was an honor to have been nominated for this prestigious award and now very humbling to be included among this distinguished group."

2015 - Dr. Thomas Hainschwang

Dr. Thomas Hainschwang - 2015 AGA Bonanno Award Recipient

Dr. Hainschwang is director of GGTL Laboratories, located in the European Principality of Liechtenstein. He earned his PhD at Nante University under the supervision of Dr. Emmanuel Fritsch, 2013 recipient of this prestigious award.

Thomas is recognized for his significant contributions to the field of gemology, among which his research on Type Ib diamonds had international impact. Thomas' contributions to gemological literature include more than 100 articles on various aspects of gemology and analytical instrumentation. AGA president Stuart Robertson noted, "At a rather young age, Dr. Hainschwang has already distinguished himself and made an enduring mark on the field of gemology. Take any one of his numerous studies concerning various aspects of natural, treated and laboratory grown diamonds, their features and phenomena, and it would stand alone as worthy of distinction. Yet with Thomas, we see a pattern of diligent investigation and desire to address the critical issues."

Thomas has demonstrated a commitment to not only investigating these important issues but also making his findings available for peer review and publication. Thomas was instrumental in detecting and then informing the trade immediately after his discovery that small natural pearls were being used as nuclei in an effort to create larger pearls that appeared to be, and were mistakenly identified by some labs, as natural pearls. This study was the subject of one of Thomas' earliest presentations to the AGA.

Dr. Hainschwang makes his approach to gemology very clear— "A gemmological laboratory cannot claim to be scientific without applying rules prevalent in a scientific approach." It is his adherence to these principles that has enabled Thomas to achieve a number of breakthroughs in identifying and addressing leading issues facing the gem trade today.

On learning that he was to receive the award, Thomas expressed his appreciation while noting, "I am honored to be included among this special group."

2014 - Dr. John Emmett

Dr. John Emmett - 2014 AGA Bonanno Award Recipient

Dr. John Emmett

Dr. Emmett obtained his Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University. From 1975–1988, Dr. Emmett was Associate Director for Lasers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, CA. John is considered a world authority on the physics and chemistry of corundum.

Dr. Emmett's contributions to gemological research are numerous. In the 1990s, John became involved with heat treatment of ruby and sapphire and today is the world's foremost corundum enhancement expert. But it is his work in educating traditional gemologists where he has really excelled. For nearly two decades he has cooperated with the former AGTA GTC and the GIA, along with a host of other gemological organizations and individual gemologists.

John was instrumental in unmasking the beryllium diffusion of corundum through a series of experiments that he designed and conducted. He has worked tirelessly since then to train gemologists in modern scientific methods and encourage gemology to move beyond theory to experimentation in the quest to understand the identification and treatment issues facing this industry. This work has been largely self-funded, donating his time and home lab. Because of his work, with its emphasis on experimentation as a fundamental part of the gemological process, gemologists now have a better understanding of the causes of color not just in corundum, but in gemstones across the board. This idea of experimentation as a means to understanding has revolutionized the science of gemology.

John has repeatedly stressed that knowledge is the common property of all humanity and has willingly shared his expertise with that principle in mind.

Dr. Emmanuel Fritsch - 2013 Bonanno Award Recipient

2013 - Dr. Emmanuel Fritsch

Dr. Emmanuel Fritsch is professor of physics at Nantes University since 1995. He earned his PhD in Geophysics and Internal Geodynamics from Paris VII University in 1985, on the subject of parasitic colorations in industrial silica glass. He then joined GIA (Gemological Institute of America) first as a postdoc researcher, then as a scientist, and finally as manager of GIA Research from 1993 to 1995. Today he is in charge of the gemological education programs at the University of Nantes, in particular the DUG diploma for which he is the primary teacher. His contribution to the gemological literature is extensive, having published more than 250 articles and book chapters.

Thom Underwood - 2012 Bonanno Award Recipient

2012 - Thom Underwood, GG, FGA, ASA

Thom began as a goldsmith and jewelry manufacturer. He opened San Diego Gemological Laboratory in 1978 and eventually exited the manufacturing and retail ventures to focus exclusively on gem and jewelry appraisals. Thom earned the ASA prestigious Master Gemologist Appraiser® credential in 1984.

As an experienced appraiser, Thom recognized that computerization would enhance both accuracy and speed in the appraisal process ultimately making the appraisal experience more efficient for consumer, insurer and professional appraiser alike. He developed what would become known as Quantum Leap Appraisal Software initially for his own use. However, he soon realized the benefit of computerization in the appraisal practice. Thom launched Quantum Leap Software Solutions in 1987.

As a member of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) in the 90's, he worked on the Appraisal Task Force helping to establish Insurance Documentation Guidelines for the Jewelry Industry. Thom has dedicated a significant part of his career to advancing the principles of appraising specifically related to the gem and jewelry industry. He is an advocate and mentor, eagerly sharing his expertise with those moving into the appraising profession.

This award recognizes Thom Underwood for his many contributions working to enhance gemological appraisal standards. He is also acknowledged for his willingness to assist his many colleagues by lecturing on topics unique to gem appraisal and mentoring newcomers to the field.

Stuart Robertson - 2011 Bonanno Award Recipient

2011 - Stuart Robertson

Stuart's interests in gemology formed during the mid 1980's while studying criminalistics at the University of Illinois, Chicago. While attending the university, he worked for an independent jewelry store in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. In 1986, his plans to join the Chicago Police Department and pursue a career as a crime scene investigator took a detour when his then employer suggested that he study gemology. Stuart would stay in that retail position for nearly a decade more, earning his Graduate Gemologist Diploma 1993 and becoming the staff gemologist.

In 1998, Stuart was appointed the Research Director for Gemworld International, Inc., publishers of the acclaimed pricing periodical The GemGuide. In addition to these duties, Stuart designs and directs special research projects for Gemworld and its clients. These projects involve analyzing market and production trends and charting the influence that treatments can have on the marketability of specific gem products.

Stuart is one of the world's leading researchers and gemstone pricing experts. He has devoted his career to the advancement of gemological knowledge through his writings and personal consulting with industry members. He has also presented lectures on various aspects of gemology in the U.S. and abroad in both public and industry forums.

The award recognizes Stuart Robertson for his many contributions to the gemological community. He is also acknowledged for his willingness to assist his many colleagues by compiling pricing data and researching market trends for their academic research, industry presentations and publications.

Richard Hughes - 2010 Bonnanno Award Recipient

2010 - Richard W. Hughes

A native of the United States, Richard Hughes has spent many years in Asia, where his interest in precious stones was first kindled. Today he is Senior Vice President of Gemstone Acquisition & Marketing at NCS Group in Bangkok.

His career spans thirty years and is somewhat unusual in that he has been involved not only with academic and laboratory gemology, but also on the wholesale business side.

Traveling to scores of countries in search of precious stones, Richard Hughes has authored two books and more than a hundred articles on all aspects of gemology and the gem and jewelry trades. Richard’s "Ruby & Sapphire" is considered the standard work on the subject. His writings on the challenges posed to the gem industry by undisclosed gemstone treatments would prove prophetic. Richard’s appreciation and understanding of people, regardless of their lot in life, often earned him access to observe the interesting cultures and histories associated with some of the most important gem producing areas of the world.

This award recognizes Richard’s efforts in successfully advancing the profile of many gems and the countries that produce them through his travelogues, as well as more scientific writings and the generous sharing of this information through trade journals and his website www.ruby-sapphire.com. The award underscores the responsibility of the international gemological community to encourage and reward ongoing research, education and dissemination of information.

2009 - Christopher P. Smith

Christopher P. Smith - 2009 Bonnanno Award Recipient

Chris Smith began his gemological career in 1986 when he joined the GIA Laboratory, then in Los Angeles, CA. He started as a diamond grader, but shortly moved over to the gem identification department where he worked with such notable gemologists as Shane McClure, Bob Kane, Chuck Fryer, Emmanuel Fritsch and others.

In 1991, the Gübelin Laboratory of Luzern, Switzerland hired Chris and moved he and his young family to Switzerland. He worked with the Gübelin Laboratory for nearly 12 years and eventually became Director of the Lab. During his tenure at Gübelin, he oversaw operations, developed key new services, expanded the scope of Gübelin’s operations globally and pioneered research into several areas of gemology, including the further development and refinement of country of origin criterion for rubies, sapphires, emeralds, alexandrites, etc. Including the characterization of ruby and sapphire from a number of newly discovered deposits, such as Mong Hsu ruby, sapphires from Vietnam, rubies and sapphires from Nepal and rubies from Tajikistan, as well as others. As part of his research activities, he has visited a number of gem mines, including Mogok, Sri Lanka, the Ural mountains in Russia, Australia, Thailand, etc. While focusing a great deal of his efforts on the determinations for country of origin, he has also worked extensively on the distinction between non-treated and treated gems, including a variety of heating techniques for corundum and HPHT treatment of diamonds, as well as others. Other focuses include the origin of color and its identification in rubies and sapphires, diamond, coral and other materials plus the identification of and distinction between natural and synthetic gems and the further development of analytical techniques and their applications in gemology.

In 2003, Chris returned to the GIA Laboratory, this time in New York and was the Director of Identification Services there, involved with the development of colored stone services and research. Recently, in December of 2006, Chris joined the AGL as Vice President and Chief Gemologist to spear-head together with C.R. "Cap" Beesley the growth and development of their colored stone services.

Chris has published and lectured extensively on these various topics. He is a past recipient of the Most Valuable article award in Gems & Gemology. In 2007 he received the prestigious Richard T. Liddicoat award from the American Gemological Society and he was a founding member of the Laboratory Manual Harmonization Committee (LMHC).

Dr. James Shigley - 2008 Bonnanno Award Recipient

2008 - Dr. James Shigley

Dr. Shigley, a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Gemological Institute of America, is the author of many articles on diamonds and other gemstones, and a well-known speaker on gemological topics to both professional and general audiences.  Dr. Shigley helps direct GIA’s research activities on the identification of natural, synthetic, and treated diamonds, colored stones and pearls. In his current position as Distinguished Research Fellow, he continues to advance GIA's gem research program to support the jewelry trade to meet the challenges of gem identification. Last summer marked his 25th anniversary with the Institute.

Shane McClure - 2007 Bonnanno Award Recipient

Shane McClure - 2007

After earning his Graduate Gemologist diploma in 1978 at the Santa Monica campus, Shane McClure accepted an entry-level position at the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory in downtown Los Angeles. Some 28 years later he is still with the GIA Laboratory, now located in Carlsbad, California, where he manages both gem identification activities and numerous research projects as Director of West Coast Identification Services.

McClure is an accomplished writer and photographer. Among his journalistic achievements, he has won the Gems & Gemology award for most valuable article seven times, an award that is voted on by the readership of that journal.

Richard Drucker 2006 Bonnanno Award Recipient

Richard Drucker - 2006

Richard Drucker is the president of Gemworld International, Inc. in Glenview, Illinois. As a third generation jeweler, he entered the business in 1979. In 1982, he began a pricing publication now known as the GemGuide. The GemGuide is used in more than 20 countries. Drucker now serves as publisher, appraiser, consultant, lecturer, and author. In 1993, Mr. Drucker was elected as the first Chairman of the Gemological Institute of America Alumni & Associates International Board of Governors. He continued as Chair of the Alumni Executive Council through 2000 and received an Alumni Leadership Award for exemplary service in this role.

In 2002 Drucker became the owner and licensing distributor for GemGuide Appraisal Software, a sophisticated program used by more than 1,000 jewelry appraisers.

Mr. Drucker has lectured for many organizations throughout the world. He has been an integral part of many court cases including work for the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Postal Inspector, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Customs Service. He has published six industry trade books.

Richard was nominated for his dedication to broadening knowledge—through his publications and through the creation of a data communication system that has made information on gemstone sources, availability, and pricing readily accessible—and for his leadership on important issues regarding valuation science, gemstone treatment, and diamond cut grading.

Alan Jobbins & Antoinette Matlins - 2005

Antoinette Matlins - 2005 Honorary Bonnanno Award Recipient

Antoinette Matlins, PG, is a well-known author of many books on gems and jewelry and a leading educator both within the trade and to the public.

Initially pursuing a career in primary remedial education and subsequently moving into the advertising field in New York City, gemology remained only a hobby until the early 1980s. Angered by misinformation that had been appearing in various investment magazines for several years regarding diamonds, gemstones and gem investment, Matlins decided there was a real need for a book to protect consumers; in 1984 this book was published, written by Matlins, with Antonio Bonanno as co-author.

She was Gemology Editor for National Jeweler magazine for almost a decade during the mid-1980s and 1990s, and her work on consumer-related issues soon established her as a dedicated consumer advocate. The Accredited Gemologists Association’s nationwide campaign against gemstone investment telemarketing scams was spearheaded by Matlins, and she is often seen on television segments on ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN educating consumers and exposing fraud and misrepresentation.

Through her books, articles, lectures and media appearances, she has played an important role in bringing information to the public’s attention regarding the routine use of gemstone treatments and in focusing the trade on the need for disclosure. In the educational arena, applying her father’s unique approach to gemology, Matlins developed an innovative, practical course focused at people in the trade without an interest in gemology. Her goal was to give people without any science or technical background the skills they needed to reduce risk and to gain greater confidence in buying and selling gems.

Her unique approach has taken her as an educator not only to major gem shows and conferences, but to such places as the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan where she spent a month sharing her techniques with illiterate miners. It is estimated that she has personally taught several thousand people, many of whom have gone on to pursue the study of gemology and to obtain gemological diplomas.

Alan Jobbins - 2005 Bonnanno Award Recipient

E. Alan Jobbins, BSc, Ceng, FIMM, FGA, started his geological/ gemological journey at the age of thirteen when he was shown superb crystal specimens of mimetite(campylite) from Cumberland by his geography master which led to geological studies and his appointment as Curator of Minerals and Gemstones at the Geological Museum in London, where he was responsible for the extensive gemstone exhibitions.

Over a span of more than 30 years there, he conducted many important research projects, including a major study of East African garnets, the first papers characterizing the structure and identification of synthetic opals, the discovery of a new mineral (magnesio-axinite), and the field study of the Barwell meteorite fall.

His work has taken him on many assignment for the United Nations and the British Government, where he carried out geological surveys and methods of exploitation of a series of gem deposits in many countries. Some of his more notable international work included setting up a gemological laboratory in Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar) and training the country's first gemologists to FGA graduation, with some students proceeding to PhD’s at English universities; he led  a major study of Pailin ruby and sapphire deposits in Cambodia, resulting in important recommendations for improved working methods; an assessment of diamond and opal deposits in Piaui State, Brazil; and a survey of the Sri Lankan gemstone industry to improve mining methods and cutting techniques.

In 1988 he turned his focus to China where he initiated gemological training - with new laboratory facilities - at the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan. In the UK, his record includes 32 years as a gemological lecturer at the Sir John Cass College (now London Metropolitan University), 20 years as an examiner for the Gemmological Association of Great Britain gemmology examinations, and eight years as Editor of the Journal of Gemmology. But his most sparkling assignment was being a member of the team that conducted the first comprehensive gemological examination of the English Crown Jewels from 1986-1989 which led to the publication of a major illustrated catalogue.

He has ‘collected’ various posts over the years including being an Executive member of the International Gemmological Conference and is a Past President of the Society of Jewellery Historians and of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (now Gem-A). He is a Founding Organizer of the International Gemstone Association.


AGA is saddened by the passing of Alan Jobbins on 2/9/2019 at the age of 95. JCK honored his life in this article...

Dr. Henry A. Hanni - 2004

Dr. Henry Hanni - 2004 Bonnanno Award Recipient

Dr. Henry A. Hanni, began his gemological career in 1976 when he became a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (FGA). In 1980 he obtained his doctorate, his thesis having been on beryl from the Swiss Alps. In the same year he joined the scientific staff at SSEF, the Swiss Gemmological Institute, of which he became director in 1990. In 1996, Dr. Hanni joined the faculty of Basel University as a professor of Gemmology.

Over the course of the past 30 years, Dr. Hanni has become recognized as one of the leading researchers and educators in the gemological field. He has written over 50 papers on gemstones, analytical techniques, and detection of treatments, in English, German, and French, and maintains a rigorous schedule lecturing and giving courses worldwide.

Under Dr. Hanni's leadership, SSEF has become an important gemological laboratory focusing on research, disclosure, and establishing higher standards for the field. SSEF is at the forefront of gemological research, and its pearl and gemstone reports are now among the most highly respected internationally. Dr Hanni has also helped to build SSEF into an important training center for gemology, attracting students not only from Europe, but worldwide, and is responsible for the SSEF journal, FACETTE, which provides important contributions to the gemological literature.

When asked about his work in the field, Hanni replied that he believed his major contributions were in three areas: teaching "scientific instrumental gemology," pearl research, and his extensive work in treatment identification-especially glass in ruby and organic substances in emerald-and in addressing how treatment information should be handled in laboratory documents. The SSEF publication, "Standards and Applications" was one of the first straightforward and thorough works on how gemstone treatments should be handled on reports and has served as a model for standards put into effect by many laboratories worldwide.

G. Robert Crowningshield - 2003

G. Robert Crowningshield - 2003 Bonnanno Award Recipient

G. Robert Crowningshield’s life-long passion for the field began while a young man in the navy, looking for stones in “ Ceylon” ( Sri Lanka) where he was told about the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) by a jeweler there. Upon completing his navy tour, he enrolled at the GIA to study gemology, following which he was recruited as an instructor by GIA founder, Robert Shipley. In 1949, Crowningshield was appointed Vice President of GIA’s new Gem Trade Laboratory in New York City, which became his home for most of his illustrious career. His contributions include many “firsts”: the first report on dyed jadeite; the first to apply spectroscopic techniques to separate natural fancy-color diamonds from treated; the first gemological study of gem-quality GE synthetic diamonds.

“It is with special pleasure that we present this award to Bob,” explains Antoinette Matlins, one of Bonanno's gemologist-daughters, “because of the wonderful relationship he shared with Dad and the great mutual respect they felt for one another. And like our father, after more than 50 years in the field, Bob retains his passion and dedication to the field. He has touched the lives of thousands of gemologists, conducted research that has had a major impact on our understanding of diamonds and colored gemstones, and truly shaped the field of gemology as we know it today.”


Mr. Crowningshield, a pioneer in gemology, the scientific study of gemstones, and mentor to thousands of jewelers and gemologists, passed away on November 8, 2006 at age 87.

John I. Koivula - 2002

John I. Koivula - 2002 Bonnanno Award Recipient

John Koivula has spent forty-eight years studying and photographing the microworld of gemstones. He has published more than 800 articles and notes on gemstone inclusions and related topics, and is a contributor to several books including the American Geological Institutes Glossary of Geology, Robert Webster’s Gems, and the GIA’s Diamond Dictionary. Mr. Koivula co-authored with Dr. E. Gübelin the Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones series, Volumes 1, 2 and 3, co-authored the recent release, Geologica, Earth’s Dynamic Forces, a pictorial study of crustal landforms, and is the author of The MicroWorld of Diamonds.His photomicrographs have graced the covers of numerous publications and he is the author of the longest running continuous series in gemological literature, A PhotoLexicon of Inclusion-Related Terms for Today’s Gemmologist  for The Canadian Gemmologist.

John holds university degrees in mineralogy-geology and chemistry, the gemological credentials: G.G., C.G., F.G.A., was awarded Fellowship in the Royal Microscopical Society, and also serves on the executive board of the International Gemmological Conference group (IGC).  He is an honorary life member of the Finnish Gemmological Society and the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, and was named as one of the 64 most influential people of the 20th century in the jewelry industry by Jewelers’ Circular Keystone Magazine. 

His awards include the Robert M. Shipley and Richard T. Liddicoat awards from the American Gem Society, the Scholarship Foundation Award from the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies, and now the AGA Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology by the Accredited Gemologists Association. John previously worked for Cominco American as an exploration field geologist, and has been with the Gemological Institute of America for more than 30 years. He is currently the Chief Gemologist with the GIA’s research department and laboratory in Carlsbad, California.

C. R. "Cap" Beesley - 2001

C. R. "Cap" Beesley

C.R. "Cap" Beesley founded the American Gemological Laboratories in New York City, an international gemstone testing facility, and Gemcore, a nonprofit research and education organization that sponsors events to provide up to the minute information about gem and mineral related issues for gemstone professionals.

He is also Director of Research for the Gemstone Standards Commission, an organization whose advisory board includes representatives from international auction houses, prominent retail jewelry firms, and faculty from universities and technical facilities.

"His work has been a primary force in bringing about universal changes in disclosure policies," said Antoinette Matlins. "Although his positions have not always been popular, and his assertions often challenged, he exemplifies what it means to take a stand on an important issue, and to persevere for what you believe." According to Matlins, Beesley's work has resulted in changes in the entire treatment arena, including laboratory certification, and his work has benefited the entire gem and jewelry industry, creating a more honest and forthright environment. "This was what my father strove for his entire life, and the reason he worked so hard in helping to build the AGA, and programs like the AGA's Master Gemologist Appraiser (which was subsequently taken over by the American Society of Appraisers.)

Gemologists Karen (Bonanno) DeHaas, FGA, and Kathryn Bonanno-Patrizzi, FGA, agree with their sister. "He almost single-handedly made gemstone treatment disclosure a top priority among leading auction houses," says Patrizzi. Beesley’s efforts resulted in the implementation of disclosure policies by Sotheby’s and Christies as well, and his positions have influenced the direction of industry trade organizations and retailers worldwide. "Beesley’s work exemplifies what it means to be committed to research, education, and high personal and professional integrity," sums up DeHaas, "And that is what this award is all about."

Alan Hodgkinson - 2000

Alan Hodgkinson - 2000 Bonnanno Award Recipient

Alan Hodgkinson, FGA, is the first recipient of the Antonio Bonanno Award. Alan is the developer of Hodgkinson's Visual Optics. Currently President of the Eastwood Chamber of Trade and Commerce, he is working on a book entitled "Diamond & Gemstones - A Practical Identification Manual."

He was acknowledged for his 20 plus years of involvement in the industry, the establishment of his highly acclaimed two-day Practical Gem Identification Course and his reputation as a worldwide lecturer.

About the Award

The AGA Antonio C. Bonanno award was created to recognize those who have made significant contributions to the field of gemology. Selected by a majority vote of the AGA membership, the recipient receives global recognition, a specially commissioned plaque & medallion, together with a check for $2000.00 funded by AGA members. While recognizing individuals for their outstanding contributions to the gemological community, the Bonanno Award encourages and rewards advances in research, education, innovation, and ethical practices in the field.

AGA membership is not required to nominate or to be nominated.

Nominations are vetted by the Bonanno Award Committee and sent to the AGA Board of Governors where the slate of nominees is narrowed by majority vote if necessary.

Nomination Form

AGA Lifetime Achievement Awards

2015 - Dona Dirlam

2013 - Alice Keller

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