Edward Levin, of Cambridge, N.Y., and Cedar Key, Fla., died Feb. 23 at his home in Cedar Key. He was 87. He was an artist, craftsperson, jeweler, painter, sculptor, ceramist, and inventor of machines, tools and processes to enhance creativity in jewelry-making.
Levin was born Feb. 4, 1921, in New York City and grew up in Long Beach on Long Island. He studied fine arts at Columbia University, and later at Alfred University, the New School, and the Barnes Foundation.
He successfully obtained conscientious objector status during World War II. In 1948, Levin lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and studied with a Florentine master jeweler. In 1949, Levin married Ruth Perlmutter, and lived on the Upper West Side in New York City.
In 1950 with his wife, he founded Ed Levin Jewelry and made jewelry on the stove top in their New York apartment. He traveled by bus throughout New England to sell his jewelry to college students. In 1953 the couple moved to Shaftsbury, Vt., where Levin sold his artwork and jewelry from Ed Levin Arts Workshop, established in a building on their property. In 1964, he moved his workshop to Bennington where he opened a retail shop.
In 1968, Levin married Ruth Pearl Bluestone Dale, bought a house in Cambridge, N.Y., and moved his wholesale business to Cambridge. While Levin continued to design jewelry, he also spent time in his studio at home painting, sculpting, throwing pots, and inventing tools.
Ed Levin Jewelry, Inc., considered the oldest and largest hand-crafted jewelry manufacturer in the United States, is owned by the family and currently sells to hundreds of retail shops throughout the country.
Levin was adamant in his beliefs and followed his own path. Life, for him, was a continuing exploration of ideas, the senses, and challenging the status quo. He actively supported peace, human rights, civil liberties, and environmental protection. Levin said, “The diversity and richness of the natural world and all of the peoples who have inhabited it will always inspire both art and jewelry. The connections are not necessarily direct or obvious…Nevertheless, our present is still connected to the earth forms and ancestor creations that abound and still touch us.”
Ed was predeceased by his second wife, Ruth Dale Levin, and his brother, Ernest Levin. He leaves his first wife, Ruth Perlmutter Levin, his three children, Rachel Levin, Flo Levin, and Alexander Levin; and two stepsons, Paul Bluestone and Donald Bluestone.
Levin will be buried in Cambridge, N.Y., in the spring. Contributions in Levin’s memory may be sent to: Allen Gilbert, ACLU Vermont, 137 Elm Street, Montpelier, VT 05602.