Howard Rubin, a highly respected gemstone expert and inventor of the GemDialogue color description system, died Jan. 17 at age 86.
After serving in World War II as an infantry soldier, Rubin took advantage of the G.I. Bill to hone his skills as a diamond and colored stone setter. He later became a vice president for Leer Gem Co., the colored stone division of the M. Fabrikant, then worked as a consultant for companies such as QVC, Walmart, I.B. Goodman, Charles & Colvard.
In 1982 he developed a system that would allow jewelers to “talk” to each other, which soon became GemDialogue. After 1990, Rubin acted as an independent consultant, appraiser, and educator, and in 1993 he joined his wife Gail Brett Levine’s appraisal practice company, Timeless Inc., as senior evaluator and appraiser.
Rubin also served as national secretary of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers and was NAJA’s representative at the Appraisal Foundation. The upcoming Tucson conference of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers will be dedicated to Rubin’s memory.
Rubin recently received the 2011 Manhattan Chapter GIA Alumni Chapter Achievement Award.
He is survived by Levine, who serves as NAJA executive director, four children, and one grandchild.