GIA President and Chief Executive Officer Donna Baker presented the special honor to Koivula during a surprise ceremony on Dec. 17 at the Institute’s world headquarters in
“The Richard T. Liddicoat Award for Distinguished Achievement goes to an individual who truly embodies the characteristics that made Mr. Liddicoat so great, and who sets an example for all of us in our service to the industry and the public,” Baker said.
The award was initiated in 1994 to be conferred upon a person who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to furthering the Institute’s mission.
“John is deeply concerned about GIA, the promulgation of the Institute’s core values both inside and outside of our walls, and ensuring GIA’s future,” Baker added. “His talents are multi-faceted and he uses them to shed light on gemology – particularly the microworld of gemstones –through a variety of roles, including photographer, researcher, author and speaker.”
In his acceptance speech, Koivula said: “This award, named after Richard T. Liddicoat, has a very special meaning. Mr. Liddicoat was one of a small number of special people that built and strengthened GIA’s international gemological reputation through decades of hard and innovative work. I was extremely fortunate to have known him, and I considered him to not only be an excellent teacher, but also a very good friend.”
Koivula has been studying and photographing the microworld of gemstones since 1961. As an extension of his inclusion research and microscopy he has developed several useful illumination techniques applicable to gemology. He introduced fiber optic illumination and discovered many of the micro-characteristics now routinely used in the separation of treated stones from natural gems.
Koivula has authored or co-authored more than 800 articles on gemstone inclusions and related topics, as well as – with the late Dr. Edward J. Gübelin – all three volumes of the “Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones.” Koivula’s book, “The MicroWorld of Diamonds,” covers natural diamonds, synthetics, simulants and enhancements. He is a contributor to several other books, including the “Glossary of Geology,” the fifth edition of Robert Webster’s “Gems: Their Sources, Descriptions and Identification,” GIA’s “Diamond Dictionary” and “Geologica: Earth’s Dynamic Forces.”
He was instrumental in the development of the “MacGyver” television series for ABC, and worked as a scientific and technical advisor on the show during its seven year run.
The gem and jewelry industry has acknowledged Koivula’s contribution as well. His numerous awards and recognitions include the AGS Robert M. Shipley Award, the Scholarship Foundation Award by the American Federation and California Federation of Mineralogical Societies, the Antonio C. Bonanno Award for excellence in gemology by the international Accredited Gemologists Association, and he was the first recipient of the AGS Richard T. Liddicoat Journalism Award. For more information about GIA visit www.gia.edu.