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.

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