Verdura Executive Donna Sturm Dies

Donna Sturm, manager of design and product development for storied New York City jewelry brand Verdura, died on May 4 from a traumatic brain injury she suffered on April 24 after being struck by a bicyclist while crossing 57th Street during her lunch hour.

Sturm was a product development specialist with more than 30 years of experience in the luxury jewelry market. Prior to joining Verdura, she worked as a bench jeweler at Tiffany & Co.

“Donna Sturm was a mentor and a friend to so many of us at Verdura,” Nico Landrigan, president of Verdura and Belperron, told JCK. “Our admiration for Donna was shared by her many many friends in the jewelry industry. When she was selecting gemstones or matching pearls, for one of her famously bold and beautiful necklaces, her eye for color and quality was exceptional. She had such great taste and always wore it so lightly.”

Verdura also sent JCK an obituary detailing her contributions to the company, both professionally and personally: “A unique talent, [Sturm] was equally skilled in both the technical and creative aspects of jewelry design, and over the nearly two decades that Donna was with Verdura, her artistry permeated every aspect of the brand’s collections. Her kindness to colleagues and partners characterized her relationships in the industry.”

Police told CBS New York that a 40-year-old man ran a red light and hit Sturm—the bicyclist “stayed on the scene and received a summons,” according to the news outlet.

The jewelry veteran’s family released a statement last week that read, “Donna Sturm was a vibrant, energetic and wonderful woman who died as a result of carelessness and negligence…. She was crossing a street, in the crosswalk, with the light in her favor when she was struck. Unfortunately, she suffered horrific head injuries and, although the doctors tried their best over the last week, they were unable to save her life…. Donna Sturm’s entire family is, simply put, devastated. They will never recover from this loss.”

Sturm, who was 67 when she died, leaves behind her husband, Ted Panken; daughter, Angelina; mother, Joanna DeLuca; and sister, Bettina Sturm, who is also a member of the Verdura team.

A memorial service for Sturm will be held on June 16, 11 a.m.—1 p.m., at UN Church Center, 777 First Ave. in New York City.

Top: Donna Sturm (courtesy of Verdura)

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JCK Senior Editor

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