News & Press: American Gem Society News

Circle of Distinction Spotlight: Dr. James Shigley

Tuesday, June 27, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Dr. James ShigleyThe American Gem Society congratulates this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Dr. James Shigley!

For more than 30 years, Dr. Shigley has been widely recognized as the face of GIA research. Since 1982, he has represented the Institute around the world, lecturing and publishing extensively on topics related to diamonds, colored stones, and gem identification.

After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Shigley served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1971 to 1976, eventually retiring from the Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel. He joined GIA as a senior research scientist after earning a doctorate in geology from Stanford University. He quickly proved his mettle in the laboratory, becoming manager of the research department within three years of his arrival. In 1987, he became GIA’s director of research; today, he serves as the Institute’s first and only distinguished research fellow.

Dr. Shigley has been a prolific contributor to gemological research. As of September 2014, he has authored or coauthored 59 articles for Gems & Gemology alone; 29 of those have received the journal’s Most Valuable Article award. He serves as a contributing editor for Gems & Gemology, and as the editor of the Gems & Gemology in Review book series. His studies have identified methods of separating natural from synthetic diamonds, documented important gem localities, and established characteristics of HPHT synthetic diamonds. Dr. Shigley was instrumental to the creation of the GIA Gem Project, a collection of 2,800 stones (representing 225 minerals) from the Edward J. Gübelin Collection that is available as a free research and identification resource to the trade and the public.

Countless GIA staff members have been mentored by Dr. Shigley during his 32-year tenure, passing the torch of practical skills and hard-won experience to the next generation of gemologists. His contributions have earned industry recognition, including AGA’s Antonio Bonnano Award for Excellence in Gemology (2007) and GIA’s Staff of the Year award (2006). Dr. Shigley’s work has solidified the Institute’s reputation for groundbreaking research.

Be a Part of the Circle of Distinction Dinner

We hope to see you at this year's Circle of Distinction Dinner in New York, July 25. Do not miss this opportunity to show your support of the honorees and your dedication to excellence in our industry!

To order tickets or to learn more about advertising opportunities, click the buttons below, or contact Lauren Ruggeroli at 702.255.6500 x1005 or



Mission Statement

The American Gem Society (AGS) is a nonprofit trade association of fine jewelry professionals dedicated to setting, maintaining and promoting the highest standards of ethical conduct and professional behavior through education, accreditation, recertification of its membership, gemological standards, and gemological research.

The Society is committed to providing educational products to inform and protect the consumer and to contributing to the betterment of the trade by creating industry standards to protect the jewelry-buying public and the fine jewelry industry as a whole.

AGS Laboratories, founded to support the AGS mission, is a nonprofit diamond grading laboratory with a mission of consumer protection. Adhering to the AGS Diamond Grading Standards, AGS Laboratories is dedicated to offering diamond grading reports that provide consistency and accuracy based on science.

American Gem Society