Renowned colored gemstone dealer and jewelry manufacturer Richard Krementz Jr. died of cancer on Nov. 21 at age 86.
In 1949, Krementz, fresh out of Yale, took over the family business founded by his grandfather George in 1866. By the 1980s, it was one of the country’s biggest jewelry manufacturers. In 1997, Krementz sold two of his divisions, Krementz Traditional and Shiman Religious, to the Colibri Group, in order to concentrate on Richard Krementz Gemstones and the colored stone business.
“He just fell in love with gems,” says Richard Krementz Gemstones creative director Danielle Barber. “He was incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about what he did. He did not care what it took to make a piece of jewelry, he just wanted it to be the most beautiful piece.”
Son Rick Krementz, now company CEO, recalls his father worked until two weeks before he died.
“He was the most honest man,” he says. “He never cheated, he never wanted to take short-cuts. He was emphatic that you should never wait to pay anyone.”
Richard Krementz Jr. was an early board member of the American Gem Trade Association and International Colored Stone Association, and also strongly supported the American Gem Society and Jewelers Board of Trade.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Peggy; children Rick and Betsy; and granddaughters Anna and Nastajjia.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Criehaven Library, 58 Chadwick St, Portland, Maine, 04102.