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Liddicoat's Gem Identification book


#1

Hi All,

I tried today to order Liddicoat’s Gem Identification book at GIA
for my students and was told that it is no longer in print, they
don’t stock it or have it.

This is a serious detriment to the field. This book (along with
Anderson’s Gemtesting, and Webster’s Gems) is a cornerstone for
gemologists. Can anyone explain what is happening there to make them
do this? Why would they gut such from the culture? What
is up at GIA?

best
Charles


#2
Can anyone explain what is happening there to make them do this?
Why would they gut such from the culture? What is up at
GIA? 

They been trying to do it for a few years. The problems is that field
of gemology changed so much that tests which worked before are still
reliable, but only in very experienced hands. Casual approach will
get you in trouble.

The book was written when things were much simpler. It is still good
and I still use it, but one has to understand the limitation of the
common gemological tests in todays environment.

I also know that they are rewriting their Color Stones Courses for
the same reason.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#3
The book was written when things were much simpler. It is still
good and I still use it, but one has to understand the limitation
of the common gemological tests in todays environment. 

Hi Leonard, Can you enlarge on your comments? What specifics are you
speaking of?

best
Charles


#4

Just wondering; Did you ask them with what book they’ve replaced it?
I would assume that they have found something better. Knowledge moves
forward and all textbooks become outdated eventually. Why assume they
are a removing something from “the culture”?

Marianne Hunter


#5
Can you enlarge on your comments? What specifics are you speaking
of? 

I guess it should be said that I have no inside knowledge and what
follows is simply my contemplations of the issue.

The main tenet of the book that it is impossible to duplicate ALL the
features of a gemstone. So identification is possible by conducting
tests and comparing results with what is should be.

In some cases this is no longer true under commonly excepted
definition of “all the features”.

Take a padparadschah sapphire. In untreated stone the source of
color is combination of chromium and oxygen. But we also know that
the same coloration can be produced by berillium diffusion. If all
one have is this book (a lot of jewelers do), can one actually tell
the difference?

(To anticipate some responses, berillium diffusion cannot be reliably
detected by submerging)

Theoretically yes. Spectrum of the gemstone should tell the story,
but the book mentions it somewhat implicitly.

Take another case of lab-grown amethyst versus natural. The book is
of no help at all. One must use crystallographic analysis to tell
them apart, but it barely mentioned in the book.

So “all the features” are still true, but definition of “all the
features” changing very, very fast

In my humble opinion, todays world requires deeper understanding of
microscopy and crystallography for gemstone identification. GIA
solution is to test with advanced equipment, which jewelers simply do
not have.

Up until now it was not emphasized enough that common tests are
becoming more and more limited in usefulness. But I suspect this is
about to change. That why the book have been withdrawn from the
circulation. I simply needs updating.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#6
Just wondering; Did you ask them with what book they've replaced
it? I would assume that they have found something better. Knowledge
moves forward and all textbooks become outdated eventually. Why
assume they are a removing something from "the culture"? 

Hi Marianne, I did ask them what they were replacing it with, and
they said ‘nothing’, just the specific GIA course materials, no
Liddicoat any more. I suggested they at least consider releasing it
on kindle and other readers, as textbooks are being done these days.
The person I spoke with agreed it was a loss and did not debate my
comments about a loss to the field.

best
Charles


#7
The book was written when things were much simpler. It is still
good and I still use it, but one has to understand the limitation
of the common gemological tests in todays environment. 

I cannot believe that gemmology has changed so much as to invalidate
Liddicoat’s text. While I prefer Gem Testing by Anderson, and Gems by
webster (and Matlins’ book) for some things, the spectrum drawings
(particularly in the old Liddicoat) are the closest to accurate I
know.

best
charles


#8
I cannot believe that gemmology has changed so much as to
invalidate Liddicoat's text. 

Nothing will ever invalidate Liddicoat’s book. What I am trying to
say that there are circumstances where reliance on book methods can
produce an undesirable results. 10 years ago, one could spend whole
life and never encounter such circumstances. Todays, it is way more
likely. The issue is not the book validity, but GIA exposure. The
decision probably was made by lawyers and not by academics.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#9

Liddicoat’s Gem Identification book was one of several used at
TIJT’s Paris campus when I took the Gemology, full semester, course
in 2003 for my G.G.S. It was 8 to 5, 5 days a week with occasional
Saturdays. (as I remember)

The book was softbound and had the defect of pages coming loose from
the glued in bindings. This was remedied when I took it to a local
printer and had the pages cut down and 3 holes drilled to fit a Avery
Dennison 9" X 8" X 3" 3 ring binder. (Cost $ 10.00 to $ 15.00 plus
binder.)

An Unexpected benefit was the fact that hand written or printed
notes could be annotated to the back of each chapter thus making the
entire book upgradeable. I used heavy bond paper for my updates and
have divided the book into two binders with the division being on
Chapter XVI on page 171. I have extra blank pages and space for notes
in either end of the binders.

I met several GIA representatives at the Dallas trade center and
told them of the problem and my solution. I never heard back from
them. Shame, it’s a good book with a lot of potential in it. I have
two books prepared in this way. It is a good fix with a lot of add on
potential for expansion.

ROBB


#10

While it is true that there have been advances in gem treatments that
are not covered in the Liddicoat book, that doesn’t mean it’s invalid
as a reference. I believe it indicates the need, as in all fields,
for continuing education so that you’ll be aware of its deficiencies.
After all, lets face it, no reference is going to be 100% inclusive
of all techniques, and if close to 100% it won’t be for long.

Mike DeBurgh