Friends and colleagues in the gem and jewelry industry are mourning the tragic loss of Simine Mozaffarian, a former instructor with the Gemological Institute of America, who died in London on June 14 as a result of a traffic accident.
Mozaffarian was born in Iran in 1949, one of the fourth generation of a family of jewelry retailers and manufacturers that operated businesses in Tehran and San Francisco. She earned her Graduate Gemologist diploma from GIA in 1977, working first as a diamond grader and later as assistant laboratory supervisor in the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory in New York. After leaving GIA, Mozaffarian moved to Toronto, and through most of the 1980s served as an instructor and liaison with GIA students at the Canadian Jewellers Institute.
Mozaffarian also worked with the Ministry of Consumer Corporate Affairs, the Canadian Gemological Association, and the Canadian Jewelers’ Association, creating standards for the Canadian diamond industry. In addition, she ran her own by-appointment jewelry salon, importing fine jewelry and buying and selling through auction houses for her salon and on behalf of her clients, as well as manufacturing one-of-a-kind pieces.
She moved to San Francisco, joining her family’s jewelry business and managing their shop in the St. Francis Hotel for her brother, Shapur Mozaffarian. She joined Butterfields & Butterfields (now “Bonhams & Butterfields”) Auction House in 1996 where she worked until July 2002, after which she left to pursue other interests in the jewelry and art world. She was in London attending a Sotheby’s workshop on antique and estate jewelry when she was struck and killed by a double-decker bus.
Peter Shemonsky at Butterfields noted that Simine will be greatly missed by her co-workers, friends, and associates within the jewelry industry.
In a message to GIA employees, president William E. Boyajian expressed his sadness over Mozaffarian’s passing: “She was deeply committed to GIA and was as fine a human being as I have known.”
Mozaffarian’s sister-in-law, Cynthia, remembers Simine as “a compassionate, poised, and sophisticated lady who held the highest standards of ethics and integrity, privately and professionally. She treated every individual with kindness, fairness, and consideration, and she was respected and loved by all who knew her well. Simine has left a void in our lives that cannot be filled.”
Mozaffarian is survived by her husband, Hamid Khalili; daughter Roxanne, 18; her mother, two brothers, two sisters, and many close relatives. A memorial service was held June 29 at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco, where her daughter, Roxanne, attended school.
Biographical information was provided by Peter Shemonsky, director, Fine Jewelry & Timepieces, Bonhams & Butterfields, San Francisco, and by GIA.