The affable fixture and proponent of education in the colored gemstone industry died on Aug. 5
Lorenzo Yih (pictured) was born in China and raised in Brazil and honored both countries in adulthood by bringing gemstone savvy from the South American nation to the vast Asian one with an enormous population and potential for business. Yih was 77 when he died on Aug. 5.
Yih initially studied architecture but shifted gears to jewelry, eventually racking up more than 30 years of experience. Yih served as a gemstone trader in Brazil, maintained in-depth gem sourcing and jewelry design know-how, joined various industry groups—including the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA)—in order to grow and give back.
Yih established a manufacturing plant in the 1980s named Lorenzo Jewelry Ltd., which became a major supplier to brands and department stores. Lorenzo went public on the NASDAQ in 1998, further expanding with the debut of retail brand Enzo in China in 2004. By 2014, Yih completed a vertically integrated mine-to-market business model upon setup of a mining division. He was a strong supporter of education, himself gaining his G.G. from the GIA, and allowing his alma mater to open a school inside Yih’s plant in Hong Kong. He also established the Gemological Institute of America in Hong Kong in 1994 and acted as the founding sponsor from 1994 to 2002.
JCK visited Yih in his Lorenzo factory in China in 2013. From left: chief operating officer Alfonsa Au, JCK publisher Mark Smelzer, chairman and CEO Lorenzo Yih, and JCK senior editor Jennifer Heebner.