JCK donates rare books to GIA for safe keeping

Al Gilbertson, Gemological Institute of America’s research associate, recently had the opportunity to search through JCK magazine’s library of gemological books on diamond cutting, and soon realized the publications were very valuable to gemological historians.

At the time, JCK‘s offices and library were located in King of Prussia, Pa., in a building without an adequate storage facility for rare books. “The heat and air conditioning were aimed directly at the books, and that’s not good for them,” Gilbertson said. “Under those conditions, books can deteriorate in a matter of just a few years.”

JCK editor-in-chief Hedda Schupak asked him to pull the books and put them aside until they could decide what to do with them.

“I started to think about what we could do to protect them,” she said. “I remembered that GIA had a whole section of their library that’s climate controlled, so I knew there wouldn’t be a better place for our books to end up.”

The magazine’s offices moved to the corporate headquarters of its parent company, Reed Business Information (RBI) in New York City, soon after. Although there is a climate-controlled archival room there, it’s shared with the company’s many other publications, and the available shelves allotted to JCK were limited.

The Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center contains the world’s largest collection of books on gemology and jewelry. The Cartier Rare Book Repository and Archives, the climate-controlled area Schupak recalled, holds many important volumes, one of which dates back to the 15th century.

The majority of the books Gilbertson meticulously selected from JCK have been added to the Cartier Archives which also houses the John and Marjorie Sinkankas Gemological and Mineralogical Collection, which includes nearly every major work written about gemology and jewelry. The remaining books from JCK were placed in the main collection of the Library for circulation. This includes Marcel Tolkowsky’s important work Diamond Design, published in 1919, which was previously limited to the Cartier Archives.

The donation also consists of an original first edition of GIA founder Robert E. Shipley’s course material from 1931, and many other important materials, said Dona Dirlam, director of the GIA Library.

Other notable books include The Pocket Book for Jewelers, Lapidaries, and Gem and Pearl Dealers, published in 1929 and written by Dr. Hermann Michel, who taught Dr. Edward J. Gübelin about inclusions in gemstones.

Four different editions of Trademarks of the Jewelry and Kindred Trades published by JCK were also donated, giving GIA Library patrons access to information on jewelers’ and other manufacturers’ trademarks from the 1800s.

“These books are very, very rare and valuable and contain information that has had a historical impact,” Schupak said. “Having them in a place known to be a leading gemological resource, where people from the industry can use them, will be a great benefit.” JCK is a long-standing supporter of GIA. The JCK Publishing Group has sponsored GIA’s annual Jewelry Career Fair for many years and has been inducted into the Institute’s League of Honor three times. The company was honored again in September for its financial support of the fourth International Gemological Symposium scheduled for Aug. 27–29, 2006. “JCK’s generous gift will ensure that GIA’s library will remain as the world’s premier resource for gem and jewelry-related information,” Dirlam said.

To learn more about the Library, call 800-421-7250 ext. 4068, 760-603-4068 or e-mail library@gia.edu. To learn how to make a donation, call Patricia Syvrud, Director, In-Kind Gifts, at 800-421-7250, ext. 4432 or 760-603-4432 or e-mail patricia.syvrud@gia.edu.