Jerry Ehrenwald, who headed the North American division of the International Gemological Institute (IGI) from 1991 to 2019, died on March 6. He was 77.
Ehrenwald began in the diamond business at 11 years old, working for his diamond-sawyer father during summer breaks. After college, he continued cutting, as both a marker and sawyer.
Ehrenwald joined IGI in October 1981. Ten years later, he became the president, CEO, and partial owner of its North American division. There, he helped grow the lab into one of the largest in the industry.
In 1984, he and Carl B. Miller Jr. received a patent for using lasers to engrave permanent marks inside of a diamond. Ehrenwald said the idea came from his experience using lasers to break apart knotty gems.
Ehrenwald left the lab in September 2019, soon after it was purchased by Chinese company Fosun. He later founded the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Exchange, an online platform for lab-grown diamonds.
IGI said in a statement: “Jerry Ehrenwald joined IGI in 1981 and helped make the Institute what it is today. As a man of many ideas, constantly striving to innovate, Jerry was ahead of his time. He introduced the concept of jewelry certification to the industry and was a pioneer in laser inscription technology. Millions of jewelry items have since been certified and laser inscribed by IGI worldwide.
“Jerry’s contributions to the institute are expansive and his legacy to the industry will be revered for a lifetime. The IGI team extends our deepest condolences to his loved ones for their loss.”
Ehrenwald was a senior member of the American Society of Appraisers and a member of the Twenty-Four Karat Club of the City of New York.
He is survived by his wife and daughter. No information on funeral arrangements was available at the time of publication.
Photo courtesy of IGI
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