The late Edward J. Gübelin, an esteemed gemological pioneer, has been immortalized in a lifelike bronze bust recently donated to the Gemological Institute of America by Robert E. Kane, president and chief executive officer of Fine Gems International in Helena, Mont.
Designed and created by award-winning sculptor Lyle Schwabauer, the statue is mounted on a marble, freestanding base and depicts Gübelin looking through a loupe at a sapphire in a pair of tweezers. Edward Boehm, Gübelin’s grandson, loaned the artist his grandfather’s 1965 gold and diamond Certified Gemologist lapel pin and his 1950s Kruss loupe to make molds for the bust. A bronze-plated pair of Swiss gem tweezers was also incorporated into the piece. The sculpture is on display in the Salvador J. Assael Grand Atrium at the Institute’s Robert Mouawad Campus in Carlsbad, Calif.
Kane, former manager of Gem Identification at GIA’s West Coast Laboratory and former director of the Gübelin Gem Lab in Lucerne, Switzerland, is a longtime supporter of the Institute and was a close friend of Gübelin’s for more than 26 years. He commissioned the 32-inch-tall sculpture to honor Gübelin and celebrate the Institute’s fourth International Gemological Symposium and 75th anniversary.
“GIA is the ideal place for thousands of people each year to see this magnificent bronze sculpture of Gübelin,” said Kane. “Like the indelible legacy Gübelin left behind through his prolific writings and photomicrographs, gem collection, laboratory, and the organizations he helped establish, perhaps this sculpture also will inspire future generations of gemologists.”