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GIA mourns the loss of board member Helene Fortunoff
The GIA community – more than 3,300 associates around the world and hundreds of thousands of graduates – offers their condolences to the family of industry icon Helene Fortunoff, who passed away earlier this week
By: Diamond World News Service
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Nov 11 2021 10:45AM
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Reference: 25978  

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The GIA Board of Governors in an undated photo with Chair Helene Fortunoff (bottom row, center). Top row, standing: William Cottingham, Ralph Destino, Glenn Nord, Nancy Brewer, Roland Naftule. Second row seated: George Rossman, Matt Stuller, Richard T. Liddicoat. Third row seated: Susan Jacques, Anna Martin, Michael Kazanjian. Front row, seated: Sheldon Kwiat, Eli Haas, Helene Fortunoff, William Boyajian and Lee Berg.
The GIA Board of Governors in an undated photo with Chair Helene Fortunoff (bottom row, center). Top row, standing: William Cottingham, Ralph Destino, Glenn Nord, Nancy Brewer, Roland Naftule. Second row seated: George Rossman, Matt Stuller, Richard T. Liddicoat. Third row seated: Susan Jacques, Anna Martin, Michael Kazanjian. Front row, seated: Sheldon Kwiat, Eli Haas, Helene Fortunoff, William Boyajian and Lee Berg.

“I was fortunate to serve with Helene on the GIA Board of Governors during her time as Chair of the Board,” said Dione Kenyon, Chair of the GIA Board of Governors. “Her experience, wisdom and deep devotion to our industry were crucial to guiding GIA at that time, and she made an invaluable contribution to advancing GIA’s consumer protection mission.”

GIA President and CEO Susan Jacques added, “Helene’s legacy will live on, embodied in the memories of many throughout the global gem and jewelry industry who knew and admired her visionary leadership.”

Jacques continued, “Helene’s business acumen, taste and talent made her a nationally recognized leader in the industry, well beyond the geographic footprint of the Fortunoff retail stores in and around New York City. Those same qualities and her pioneering spirit opened opportunities for generations of women, including me, to bring their diverse voices, talents, passion and leadership to the global gem and jewelry industry.”

Fortunoff joined the GIA Board of Governors in 1998 and served as Chair from 2005 until her retirement in 2008. She was also a GIA graduate, having taken classes in the 1960s in diamond evaluation and appraisal taught by GIA leaders Eunice Miles, Robert Crowningshield and Bert Krashes. 

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