Two members of the Gemological Institute of America’s Alumni Association Lone Star Chapter chose a unique way to make a large donation to the Institute while honoring GIA’s chairman, Richard T. Liddicoat. Daniel and Bo Banks of Banks International presented the Institute with one of the world’s largest sapphire sculptures, carved by artist and sculptor Trent Mann into a likeness of the man known as “the Father of Modern Gemology,” Richard T. Liddicoat.
The 1,427.6-ct. gemstone sculpture is the largest domestically mined and carved sculpture in the United States and the second largest sapphire sculpture in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The sculpture was carved entirely from a single crystal of natural corundum of multicolored blue-and gray mottled appearance, and is semitranslucent to opaque.
The sculpture was donated in honor of Liddicoat for his leadership and achievement in the gem and jewelry industry. Liddicoat has been named one of the century’s top five “true giants” in the industry by JCK magazine; he is acknowledged as the creator of the international diamond grading system; and he has been appointed as GIA’s Chairman for Life by unanimous vote of the Institute’s board of governors.
The carving was first presented to GIA in a ceremony on Sept. 16, 2000, at the Southwestern 24 Karat Club’s 40th anniversary celebration dinner-dance during the M.D.A.S. Jewelry Show in Dallas. Further corporate and industry support for the creation of the sculpture was provided by Matthew Stuller, CEO and chairman of Stuller Settings and a member of GIA’s board of governors.