Smithsonian’s Jeffrey Post to Receive 2023 Bonanno Award
Post is being honored for nearly four decades of contributions he made within the Department of Mineral Sciences at the museum.
The Bonanno Award, established in 2000, recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the gemological field, and a majority vote of the AGA membership elects the award recipients.
During his career at the Smithsonian, Post oversaw the national gems and minerals collection and its expansion to include, now, more than 350,000 mineral specimens and 10,000 gems, the largest of its kind worldwide.
He also made major contributions to scientific literature, having published more than 150 scientific articles from research in the mineralogy, gemology, and geochemistry fields.
He is the author of “The National Gem Collection” and the recently-published “The Smithsonian National Gem Collection—Unearthed: Surprising Stories Behind the Jewels.”
“Dr. Jeffrey Post’s contributions to gemology are substantial through his published works and his support of scientific gemological researchers seeking access to data and specimens from the collection,” said AGA President Teri Brossmer.
“We also laud Jeff’s work to raise the public’s interest in gems and minerals through speaking engagements at community groups and museums.”
Post joined the Department of Mineral Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History in 1984.
He was chairman of the Department of Mineral Sciences from 1989 to 1994 and from 2014 to 2019, and he served as curator-in-charge of the U.S. National Gem and Mineral Collection from 1991 to 2023.
Post was also the lead curator for the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals, which opened in 1997.
Any member of the gemological community who has visited the hall has witnessed “Jeffrey’s passion realized,” AGA said, noting that the vision he created is sure to introduce, mesmerize, teach, and excite people about gems for generations to come.
“Dr. Post was instrumental in hosting numerous outstanding special exhibits at the Smithsonian, including the Dresden Green Diamond, The Allure of Pearls featuring the Hope Pearl and La Peregrina, The Splendor of Diamonds, which highlighted the Steinmetz Pink and the Moussaieff Red, and the 50th anniversary of the Hope Diamond with special guest gem the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond,” said Gary Roskin, who received the award last year.
“This meeting of the two world’s largest deep blue diamonds gave Jeff the opportunity to facilitate the significant gemological study of the two blues. Dr. Post was also instrumental in acquiring permanent donations of gems and jewels to the Smithsonian’s collection, including the Lion of Merelani Tsavorite, the Dom Pedro Aquamarine, and so many more.”
In May, Post was appointed curator of gems and minerals, emeritus, and research associate for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
Post is a native of Wisconsin. He received his Bachelor of Science degrees in geology and chemistry from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville, and earned his doctorate in chemistry, with a specialty in geochemistry, from Arizona State University.
Prior to joining the Smithsonian, he was a postdoctoral research fellow for three years in the Department of Geological Sciences at Harvard University
Post will be recognized at the AGA’s Gala Dinner Dance following the AGA gemological conference on Jan. 31, 2024, at the Tucson Marriott University Park Hotel.
He will receive a personalized plaque and honorarium funded by the AGA membership.
Tickets to attend the conference and gala celebration are available online.
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