GIA President William E. Boyajian presented the Richard T. Liddicoat Award for Distinguished Achievement to Thomas M. Moses, vice president of identification services for the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory, Nov. 11 at GIA’s world headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif. The ceremony was attended by Moses’ parents, Merril and Jane, as well as GIA’s Board of Governors and GIA staff.
Moses has played a key role in gem identification and research during nearly 20 years of service with the Institute. The award is the highest honor GIA bestows on an individual, and this is only the eighth time it has been given.
As he presented the award, Boyajian remarked, “It’s not often that a leader looks up to other leaders around him and pays tribute to the greatness they embody. Tom Moses is one such leader to me. I also know that if Richard Liddicoat were here today in body—as he no doubt is in spirit—he would be so proud to see Tom receive an honor in his great name.”
The plaque Moses received is engraved with commendations for his “tireless dedication to solving gemological problems.” It also says, “Your quiet and humble leadership is an example to all Institute staff, and your influence accrues great value to tradespeople, who view your contribution to their business and well-being as a true virtue.”
In accepting the award, Moses said, “I’m really overwhelmed. As many of you know, Mr. Liddicoat was very special to me, and I miss him a great deal. I remember he used to stand here every time he came down to this new place [GIA’s Carlsbad campus] and say how impressed he was with it, and I feel the same way.”
Moses earned his Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) diploma from GIA in 1976, when the Institute’s headquarters was in West Los Angeles. After graduation, Moses worked in his family’s jewelry business in Butler, Pa., but before long he returned to GIA—by then located in Santa Monica—where he worked in the Laboratory under the tutelage of acclaimed gemologist Chuck Fryer, along with Karin Hurwit. In the early ‘80s, Moses again returned to Butler to help run the family business.
But in 1986 Boyajian, then newly appointed as GIA president, asked Moses to come back to the Institute to pursue the challenging gemological work ongoing in the Laboratory. Boyajian said he asked Moses to “study under the great master, Robert Crowningshield [vice president of the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory in New York], and learn everything you can.”