Joseph Varjabedian, Founder of Jova and Z.Jova, Dies at 63

IndependentsFeb 24, 2021

Joseph Varjabedian, Founder of Jova and Z.Jova, Dies at 63

A fixture in the jewelry industry, Varjabedian started his business more than two decades ago in New York City’s Diamond District.

Joseph Varjabedian, a beloved 47th Street jeweler known for his CAD expertise, died earlier this month of complications related to the coronavirus. He was 63 years old.

New York—Jeweler Joseph Varjabedian, a fixture in the New York City Diamond District for nearly three decades, died Feb. 12 of complications related to COVID-19.

He was 63.

A native of Aleppo, Syria, Varjabedian was introduced to the jewelry business by his brother-in-law.

He moved to the United States to start his own manufacturing business and, after spending a few years managing a jewelry production facility in Russia, he returned to the United States and opened Jova Inc. in 1999.

He served retailers and wholesale customers as well as independent and established jewelry designers, including Doryn Wallach, Alison Nagasue and Wilfredo Rosado, whose pearl designs made headlines at the inauguration last month.

Varjabedian had extensive knowledge of transposing designs into CAD and working with 3D printers; he could fix any glitches.

Because of his skills, the 47th Street jeweler became a well-respected and beloved expert in CAD/3D printing, manufacturing, and sourcing for his retail, wholesale, and designer customers.

Designer Wallach remembered the “kind and thoughtful” jeweler in a recent Instagram post, writing in part: “He would let me sit over his shoulder when doing CAD work, and he would respect my perfectionism, because no one was more of a perfectionist than he was.

“He called me out when he thought something wouldn’t look right and even though I’d fight him, he was usually right.”

In addition to being a mentor and an expert in CAD, about two years ago, Varjabedian began establishing his own design in the marketplace—a line of jewelry that combined the symbol for each zodiac sign (for example, a lion for Leo) with an initial.

Operating as Z.Jova, the jeweler trademarked the new company name and registered all the zodiac letter designs.

His family plans to continue the website business, operating at

“His passing leaves a hole in our hearts and a gap now in the excellent CAD services Joseph provided,” an homage to Varjabedian shared with National Jeweler reads.

“We remember him for his generosity, mentorship of many designers, dependable workmanship, commitment to excellence, loyalty, friendship, and imparting an inclusive feeling when working with him. We are all devastated to lose such a good spirit and a friend who was a part of our close-knit jewelry community.”

Anyone who wishes to express their condolences can email; those emails will be forwarded to the family.

Varjabedian lived in New Jersey, residing in Oradell and, before that, Fair Lawn.
He was a member of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey.

Varjabedian also was a loving brother and uncle.

He is survived by four sisters, Lousine Mgrdichian, Josephine Varjabedian, Regina Odabashian and Rose Alexanian; nine nieces and nephews; and 17 great-nieces and -nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church, 461 Bergen Blvd., Ridgefield, NJ 97657.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

The Latest

WatchesApr 22, 2021
Check Out All Patek Philippe’s 2021 Newness

The watchmaker showed what’s new in Nautilus, revamped Calatrava models, and a brand-new perpetual calendar.

Policies & IssuesApr 22, 2021
US Government Sanctions Burmese State-Owned Pearl Co.

Myanmar Pearl Enterprise handles oyster fishing and breeding, as well as the culturing, harvesting, and selling of pearls.

MajorsApr 22, 2021
Tiffany Signs K-Pop Star Rosé as New Ambassador

Blackpink member Rosé will be the face of the 2021 Tiffany HardWear campaign.

Brought to you by
A New Golden Age

Gold has had its share of ups and downs over the last 5 decades. Here’s why the metal is having another big comeback.

Events & AwardsApr 22, 2021
BIJC, Ben Bridge Introduce a New Scholarship

Named for the late Lonia Tate, the scholarship is for the Graduate Gemology program at GIA, with an internship at the jeweler to follow.

Weekly QuizApr 16, 2021
This Week's Quiz
Test your knowledge of jewelry news from the week of April 12-16, 2021.
Take the Quiz
Events & AwardsApr 22, 2021
IEG Pushes Oroarezzo Italian Jewelry Trade Show to 2022

It was originally slated for June 12-15 at the Expo Centre in Arezzo, Italy.

SourcingApr 21, 2021
Why Inclusivity Is Important in Diamond Traceability

As the importance of mine-to-market grows, some worry about its feasibility for all the diamond industry’s players.

Brought to you by
4 Reasons You Need This Program for Mother’s Day

Learn how to increase customer loyalty and revenue by making JM™ Care Plan a cornerstone of your business plan.

CollectionsApr 21, 2021
Alrosa’s ‘Luminous’ Collection Leans Into Fluorescence

The diamond miner and seller is marketing the stones for their glow.