Famed California jeweler Arthur Gleim, of Palo Alto, Calif., died Nov. 26, 2007. He was 91.
Gleim, whose father Frederick founded Gleim the Jeweler in 1931, was a well-known fixture in the jewelry industry, just as his business—comprising three stores—is a fixture in Palo Alto. He gave generously of his time to the industry and served as president of the American Gem Society, California Jewelers Association, and Jewelers of America.
Gleim sat on the Gemological Institute of America board of governors from 1961 to 1966 and then again from 1970 to 1981. He served as GIA chairman from 1974 to 1981, and was made governor emeritus on July 29, 1985. To date, he remains the only member of the industry to have held all of those positions.
“He and [Richard T.] Liddicoat were very close friends from the time Dad took his GIA classes in the mid-1950s,” says his daughter, Georgie Gleim, current president of Gleim the Jeweler.
Arthur Gleim is remembered in the industry for his sense of responsibility and ethics, as well as his willingness to help others.
“He loved the jewelry industry, and I think his most important rule was to do something because it was the right thing to do. But one thing he didn’t believe in was complaining,” Georgie told JCK, noting that one of her father’s oft-repeated sayings was, “If you had problems with any kind of organization, then you owed it to that organization to be part of the solution.”
Arthur Gleim lived that belief. In addition to holding the above-mentioned offices, he served as a director of Jewelers Vigilance Committee and the Jewelry Industry Council (now called Jewelry Information Center) and chair of the AGS Trustees. He was a member of Jewelers Research Group, and a member of the Carat Club. He wrote the original AGS Appraisal Guidelines, and also served as president of the Northern California Guild of AGS.
Gleim was always willing to try new things in the business, says Georgie: “For instance, we had three diamond cutters in our shop at one time. He acquired the world’s largest carved emerald, and was one of the pioneers in estate jewelry—buying directly from the public decades before it became the thing to do.”
Gleim was also remembered for helping others. “He was always willing to give a hand to someone starting out and helped start a number of careers in the jewelry industry by giving them a job, whether or not they had experience,” says Georgie. Among those to whom he gave shop space was Andreas von Zadora-Gerlof, now recognized as one of the premier gemstone carvers and artists in the world, she adds.
Gleim received the American Gem Society’s prestigious Robert M. Shipley Award in 1980—and was especially proud to present the same award to Georgie in 1999. He won CJA’s Robert B. Westover Award for Meritorious Service in 2004 and received the 1975 Meritorious Service Award from the Golden Nuggets of Southern California, an organization of traveling sales representatives.
In addition to his work in the jewelry industry, he and Marjorie, his wife of more than 60 years, were ardent supporters of a variety of charitable organizations in their own community. They met when she took a job as “temporary Christmas help” in the store in November 1941, married shortly after, and have been pillars of the Palo Alto community ever since.
Among the local programs the Gleims have supported are Avenidas’ La Comida program, which offers inexpensive or free meals to seniors on budgets, the local Little League, local schools, and Stanford University Hospital.
Gleim never formally retired, says Georgie. In 1985, she became president of Gleim the Jeweler, but her father remained active in the business, gradually reducing his level of involvement over the years.
Gleim is survived by Marjorie, Georgie, son-in-law George Schumann, two grandchildren, Jared and Lisa, and several nieces and nephews. Two sons, Arthur Jr. and Bruce, preceded him in death.