Independents

NY Diamond District Jeweler Norman Landsberg Dies at 94

IndependentsFeb 22, 2021

NY Diamond District Jeweler Norman Landsberg Dies at 94

The longtime member of the industry, seen as an icon on 47th Street, died from complications related to COVID-19.

Norman Landsberg started his jewelry business in 1948 after realizing he wanted to make his own graduation ring instead of spending what he saw as too much money to buy one.

Long Beach, N.Y.—Well-known Diamond District jeweler Norman Landsberg died Feb. 13 from complications related to COVID-19.

He was 94 years old.

Landsberg grew up in The Bronx, helping his father deliver seltzer to tenements in the neighborhood.

He went on to serve in the U.S. military as a translator during WWII, being fluent in seven different languages, according to his son Jonathan, and then attended New York University on the GI bill with plans to become a lawyer.

He graduated in 1948 and wanted to commemorate the occasion with a custom class ring he could afford. Instead of ordering one, he decided to create it himself.

He started working with his uncle, who was a polisher at the time, learning from him as well as teaching himself along the way, and then started offering the ring for sale to his classmates.

Soon enough, classmates were asking him to do repairs and create other pieces, his son Jonathan told National Jeweler.

“All of a sudden he started making money and was like, why am I going to be a lawyer when I’m making this kind of money right now?”

And thus in 1948, Norman Landsberg Creative Jewelers was born on New York’s 47th Street.  

Landsberg married the love of his life, Carol, at that time, and they raised three sons as the busines grew.

It has stayed in the same location since its 1948 founding, and carries some big brand names like Roberto Demeglio, Roberto Coin and Penny Preville.

In 2006, the company opened a second location in Rye Brook, New York, just outside the city in Westchester County, which carries higher end goods and operates as Landsberg Jewelers.

Jonathan and his brother Jeffrey both eventually joined their father in business and will carry it on, which Jonathan said was of the utmost importance to his dad—making sure the family name stayed alive in the business.

After all, he built a solid reputation for it. The elder Landsberg “was really regarded as an icon in the industry, especially on 47th street,” Jonathan said, and was even featured once on Access Hollywood covering a celebrity engagement.

Landsberg was also known for his kindness and generosity, always smiling and greeting people “with a happy grin,” Jonathan added, noting his father worked with generations of families who kept returning to him, as did the partners in the

industry with whom he worked.

“The outpouring of love and affection for my father is really incredible.”

Landsberg fully believed in encouraging the next generation, not only of his own family but also the next set of jewelers on 47th Street.

He was also a very hard worker committed to the store, and in fact was still working, on his feet every day, up until the pandemic started.

Jonathan said his father was eager to return to the store until he caught the coronavirus. 

He was preceded in death by his wife, Carol.

He is survived by his sister, Diane Sass; his son, Jeffrey, wife, Susan, and their children, Harley, William and Quin; son Barry, wife, Melanie, children Jake and Daniel; and son Jonathan, wife Dana, and children Brandon and Madison.

The family is encouraging donations in Landsberg’s name be made to St. Francis Hospital and Heart Center in Roslyn, New York.

Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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