Carolyn Kelly, a well-known and respected industry veteran whose career spanned Saks Fifth Avenue, David Yurman, and Bloomingdale’s, died Oct. 2 of cancer. She was 60.
“She fought the most challenging battle against bile duct cancer like a true warrior,” said a post on her Facebook page. “Her bravery was unmatched.”
Kelly (pictured) started her jewelry industry career in 1974 at Bloomingdale’s, when the department store was in its heyday. She worked at the company for 15 years, eventually becoming a buyer for fine jewelry. Following that, she spent a year as director of product development at Gifts From the Sea by Mastoloni.
From 1990 to 1999, she worked as divisional manager of fine jewelry for Saks Fifth Avenue, where she earned a reputation for shrewd merchandising and plain speak. At a 1995 seminar for Italian manufacturers, she told attendees that she looked for collections, rather than individual pieces, and favored contemporary items that appeal to young affluent consumers
“Deliver what you promise,” she added. “Late delivery is as bad as no delivery at all.”
In 2000, during the initial dot-com boom, she joined now-defunct jewelry e-tailer Adornis as vice president of merchandising. She later said, “You could put a gun to my head and I couldn’t tell you what Adornis means.”
She moved on to David Yurman, where she served as director of merchandising from 2002 to 2003. In 2008, when Sybil Yurman received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Jewelry Association, she singled out Kelly for “helping in the early years.”
After working as a consultant, in 2006, Kelly and her sister Nancy purchased Old World Chain, a New York City–based importer and manufacturer of gold and silver jewelry.
Kelly is survived by her mother and three sisters. Details on her funeral can be seen here.
In lieu of flowers the Kelly family requests that donations be made to the Pancreas Center at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.
(Image via: Facebook)