She was largely responsible for establishing and expanding the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center, now the world’s leading resource center for gems, gemology and jewellery.
Dirlam’s successor will be Robert Weldon, who has been manager of photography and visual communications for GIA since 2006.
Over Dirlam’s tenure she expanded the collection to more than 57,000 books, 700 journal and magazine titles, 198,000 digital images and 1,800 video recordings.
With the addition of the 14,000-volume John & Marjorie Sinkankas Gemological Library in 1987 and the creation of the Cartier Rare Book Repository & Archives in 1998, she has helped to build the world’s largest library for information on gems and jewellery.
Her commitment to providing greater access to GIA’s rare books led to a significant project to digitise the collection’s rarest holdings and make them available for free to the public and global gem industry.
Since the project launched in 2015, more than 300 books have been scanned and are available at the GIA library website. https://archive.org/details/gialibrary.
Susan Jacques, president and CEO of GIA, said: “Dona’s groundbreaking efforts on behalf of the Institute’s research, education, and outreach capabilities have kept GIA at the forefront of gemological scholarship.”
Dirlam said: “Cultivating our library’s collection and creating accessibility for the public has been the library’s main goal.
“It takes dedicated individuals to handle the projects that come through our door and for that I am honored to have worked with a phenomenal team. What we have accomplished in the past decades will continue under the leadership of Robert Weldon.”
Weldon assumed responsibilities as library director on Dirlam’s retirement. He plans to carry on Dirlam’s legacy of expanding GIA’s collection and making it available to students, the trade and the public.