Arthur Gleim, 91, Prominent California Jeweler

Arthur Gleim, of Palo Alto, Cal., died November 26. He was 91. Gleim, whose father Frederick founded Gleim the Jeweler in 1931, was a well-known fixture in the jewelry industry, just as his business—today comprised of three stores—is a fixture in Palo Alto.

Gleim gave generously of his time to the industry, having served as president of the American Gem Society, the California Jewelers Association, and Jewelers of America

Gleim sat on the Gemological Institute of America Board of Governors from 1961 to 1966 and then again from 1970 to 1981. He sreved as GIA chairman from 1974-1981. And he made Governor emeritus on July 29, 1985. To date, he remains the only member of the industry to have held all of those positions.

“He and Dick [Richard T.] Liddicoat were very close friends from the time Dad took his GIA classes in the mid-1950’s,” says his daughter, Georgie Gleim, current president of Gleim the Jeweler.

Arthur Gleim is well remembered in the industry for his sense of responsibility and ethics, as well as his willingness to reach out and help others.

“He loved the jewelry industry and I think his most important rule was to do something because it was the right thing to do. But one thing he didn’t believe in was complaining,” Georgie told JCK, noting that one of her father’s oft-repeated sayings was, “If you had problems with any kind of organization, then you owed it to that organization to be part of the solution.”

Arthur Gleim lived that belief. In addition to holding the abovementioned offices, he also served as a director of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the Jewelry Industry Council (now called the Jewelry Information Center), and a chair of the AGS Trustees. He was a member of the Jewelers Research Group, and member of the Carat Club. He wrote the original AGS Appraisal Guidelines, and also served as president of the Northern California Guild of AGS.

Gleim was always willing to try new things in the business, says Georgie. “For instance, we had three diamond cutters in our shop at one time. He acquired the world’s largest carved emerald, and was one of the pioneers in estate jewelry—buying directly from the public decades before it became the thing to do.

Gleim was also remembered for helping others, and, as his many awards and commendations in the industry prove, his efforts didn’t go unrecognized.

“He was always willing to give a hand to someone starting out, and helped start a number of careers in the jewelry industry by giving them a job, whether or not they had experience,” says Georgie. Among those to whom he gave shop space, launching his US career, was Andreas von Zadora-Gerlof, now recognized as one of the premier gemstone carvers and artists in the world, she adds.

Gleim received the American Gem Society’s prestigious Robert M. Shipley Award in 1980—and was especially proud to be able to be the one to present the same award to Georgie in 1999. He won the received the CJA’s Robert B Westover Award for Meritorious Service in 2004, and received the 1975 Meritorious Service Award from the Golden Nuggets of Southern California, an organization of traveling sales representatives.

In addition to his work in the jewelry industry, he and Marjorie, his wife of more than 60 years, have been ardent supporters of a variety of charitable organizations in their own community. They met when she took a job as “temporary Christmas help” in the store in Nov, 1941, married shortly thereafter, and have been pillars of the Palo Alto community every since.

Among the local programs the Gleims have supported are Avenidas’ La Comida program, which offers inexpensive or free meals to seniors on budgets, the local Little League, local schools, and Stanford University Hospital.

Gleim never formally “retired,” says Georgie. In 1985, she became president of Gleim the Jeweler, but her father remained active in the business, gradually tapering down his level of involvement over the years.

Gleim is survived by Marjorie, Georgie, son-in-law George Schumann, two grandchildren, Jared and Lisa, and several nieces and nephews. Two sons, Arthur Jr. and Bruce, preceded him in death.