AGS, GIA Honor Bob Speisman

The American Gem Society is erecting a memorial on its Las Vegas campus in memory of Robert T. Speisman, 48, former executive vice president of Lazare Kaplan International. Speisman was killed Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists crashed his plane into the Pentagon. (See “Speisman Remembered,” JCK, December 2001, p. 74.)

Speisman, who was a member of the Society’s board of governors, will be honored with an American flagpole and memorial stone next to the entrance to the Robert M. Shipley Building on the AGS Las Vegas campus. The society plans to create a reflection area next to the flagpole, with a bench and lush landscaping.

AGS has established in Speisman’s name a scholarship that will help fund diamond-related education courses held at the AGS campus. There will also be a Robert Speisman memorial seminar and lecture series every year at the AGS International Conclave, to educate members on topics about which Speisman was passionate, such as selling diamonds and diamond cuts.

Contributions to the Bob Speisman Memorial will be used to establish the monument and scholarship program and can be sent to: The American Gem Society, 8881 W. Sahara Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89117.

Also in his memory, the Gemological Institute of America recently established the Robert T. Speisman Scholarship. The scholarship, valued at $1,195, is for GIA’s Distance Education Diamonds Program. For details, contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance at (800) 421-7205, ext. 4005.

“Bob was a man of great energy and enthusiasm, and his passion for the jewelry industry was inspiring to everyone who knew him,” says GIA president William E. Boyajian.

In related news, Charles Meyer has been appointed to take Speisman’s place as vice president of sales for Lazare Kaplan. Meyer was previously managing director of Bellataire Diamonds, a wholly owned subsidiary of LKI. Meyer was also president of his family-owned business, Henry Meyer Diamond Co., and prior to that, executive vice president of CitiSport, a real estate development company. He also served as a commissioner in New York City’s Housing and Development Administration.”Since joining LKI two years ago, Meyer worked closely with Bob Speisman so that he is uniquely qualified for this new responsibility,” said company president Leon Tempelsman.

Meyer praised Speisman as “a great human being, a talented professional and a dear friend.”

“I can’t replace Bob Speisman,” he added. “He was a unique talent, and there’s no way I can replace him. I can just try to continue what he was doing and to realize the plans that he had on the drawing board and will not be able to implement.”

Among those plans is greater promotion of Kaplan’s jewelry lines and storehouse of Russian diamonds.

At press time, LKI said that Meyer will continue as managing director of Bellataire, which sells diamonds treated with high pressure and temperature, but the company is looking for a successor.