Liddicoat, Richard T(homas), Jr. 1918-2002

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LIDDICOAT, Richard T(homas), Jr. 1918-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born March 2, 1918, in Kearsarge, MI; died July 23, 2002, in Los Angeles, CA. Gemologist and author. Liddicoat was considered by many to be the "dean of gemology" due to his leadership at the Gemological Institute of America and for inventing the grading system for diamonds that has become the standard. A graduate of the University of Michigan where he earned a master's degree in 1940, Liddicoat immediately headed to California to work at the Gemological Institute in Los Angeles. Except for the interruption of World War II, during which he served in the U.S. Navy as a weather officer on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, he remained at the institute throughout his career. There he rose from assistant director of education to executive director in 1952, his position given the title of president after 1970. Although he retired in 1983 he continued to serve as chairman of the institute's executive board and was named chairman of the board for life in 1992. Liddicoat is credited with creating the "four C's" rating system for diamonds, which grades the gems according to color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. Along with Gemological Institute founder Robert M. Shipley, Liddicoat also led the way in creating a national education program for gemologists that has since spread to eight other countries. In addition, he was editor-in-chief of the institute's journal, Gems and Gemology, from 1952 until his death, and was a founding member of the board of directors of the Gem and Mineral Council of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Liddicoat was the author of Handbook of Gem Identification (1947), which has gone through numerous editions, the coauthor of The Diamond Dictionary (1960) and The Jeweler's Manual (1964; second edition, 1967), and editor of the GIA DiamondDictionary (1993). In recognition of his contributions, the mineral Liddicoatite was named in his honor.



Who's Who in America, 53rd edition, Marquis (New Providence, NJ), 1999.


Chicago Tribune, July 29, 2002, section 2, p. 7.

Los Angeles Times, July 26, 2002, p. B12.

New York Times, July 26, 2002, p. C15.

Times (London, England), August 5, 2002.

Washington Post, July 28, 2002, p. C6.