Liddicoat leaves bulk of his estate to GIA

GIA’s late Chairman Richard T. Liddicoat has left another significant and lasting mark on his monumental legacy. He has bequeathed the bulk of his estate—more than $3 million—to GIA’s Endowment Fund to help support the Institute’s ongoing research and educational initiatives.

Known as one of the greatest contributors to the gem and jewelry industry, Liddicoat is recognized worldwide as “Father of Modern Gemology.” His pioneering efforts to advance gemological education and the science of gemology, and his creation of the International Diamond Grading System in 1953, made him one of the most revered figures in the industry.

“This gift is yet another example of Mr. Liddicoat’s incredible level of commitment and dedication to the science of gemology and to GIA,” said William E. Boyajian, GIA president. “It further shows his belief in the difference GIA can make for countless people for generations to come. He has truly left a legacy—a legacy of leadership and of giving.”

Liddicoat assisted GIA’s founder, Robert M. Shipley, in guiding the Institute as it developed from its infancy into a vital industry source of education, research, gemological instrument development, and laboratory services for diamonds, colored stones, and other gem materials. Liddicoat led GIA—now known as the world’s foremost authority in gemology—from 1952 until 1983, when he retired as president. He was then unanimously elected chairman of the board. He was also editor-in-chief of Gems & Gemology, the Institute’s professional journal, for 50 years.

“Dick once said that GIA was the best thing that ever happened to him in his life,” said Emae Bradbury, his companion in later years. “He loved it. GIA was the most important thing in his life.”

Bradbury added, “I think he wanted to leave this money here because he wanted the Institute to go on forever. Not that his money is going to make it go forever, but it will help. Knowing what he built here, and the leadership that was in place to carry it on, he just wanted it to continue long after he was gone, for the good of the trade and the public.”

The GIA Endowment is a permanent fund that provides a perpetual source of income for critical programs and services offered by GIA. All financial contributions to the fund are invested and never spent. The interest earned is used to support the nonprofit mission-driven activities GIA provides: education, research, the library, and the museum, all of which depend on charitable contributions to continue this work. For more information, contact Linda Ellis Harmeling, chief development officer, at (760) 603-4125 or e-mail