Pioneering jewelry designer Jean Vitau died of cancer Feb.
12 at his New York City home. He was 83.
Vitau came to the United States from France 45 years ago, eventually
establishing the Gemveto Jewelry Co. He
was known for patenting the Gemlok setting, which provides a secure and
snag-proof way of setting diamonds and precious stones
“He was a visionary, one of the first to brand jewelry,”
says his daughter Mimi Galli, who serves as Gemveto’s vice president. “Everyone
told him he was crazy but he went ahead and did it and ended up forging the way
for all the designers that we have today.”
Galli adds that the “one word that you hear from everyone in
the industry was he was the quintessential gentleman.”
Vitau is survived by wife Irene; children Pascal, Philipp
and Mimi; and grandchildren Barbara, Lucas, Nolwain, Julian, Jake, and Lou.
The memorial service for Vitau will be held at Frank E.
Campbell Funeral Home in New York City on February 18, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. In
lieu of flowers, donations are requested in Vitau’s name to: Support Research
For Multiple Myeloma, NYU Langone Medical Center, One Park Ave., 17th Fl., New
York, NY 10016.
An online guest book can be seen here.