The Accredited Gemologists Association (AGA) is pleased to announce that Robert Weldon, Director of the RTL Gemological Library & Information Center at GIA, is to receive the Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology for 2020.
“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 a 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, Weldon 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.”
The Bonanno Award will be presented at AGA’s Gala Dinner Dance at the conclusion of its Tucson Conference, February 5, 2020, from 6:00 – 11:00 PM, at the Tucson Marriott University Park Hotel. The award includes a personalized plaque and $2000 research honorarium funded by the AGA membership. For additional information or to attend the conference or gala, go to www.accreditedgemologists.org or call 844-288-4367.