New York City. March 2, 2021. Norman Landsberg of Landsberg Jewelers, who sold jewelry in the Diamond District for 73 years, died on Feb. 13, 2021, of complications due to Covid-19. He was 95.
Landsberg grew up in the Bronx, son of a seltzer salesman and a homemaker. He served in World War II as a translator—Landsberg was self-taught in German and Yiddish—afterwards attending New York University on the G.I. Bill. Upon graduation, he considered attending law school while at the same time yearning for a college ring to mark his accomplishment. He couldn’t afford one, so he turned to an uncle who was a jewelry polisher in the Diamond District. Through his resources, the uncle was able to make an affordable one for his nephew. Friends of Landsberg admired it, and he sold a few, realizing that the move could snowball into a viable business. The idea led to Norman Landsberg Creative Jewelers, which operated out of a booth in the Diamond District; a store in Rye Brook, N.Y., followed. Sons Jeffrey and Jonathan will continue on in the business.
Daughter-in-law Susan Landsberg, Jeffrey’s wife, was overwhelmed by the outpouring of condolences upon his death. “We went to the Diamond District shortly after he died and people—young, old, Indian, Russian, Orthodox, from all walks of life—were lining up to tell us about Norman’s generosity, how he gave them a chance when nobody else would,” she says. “I’ve known him for 30 years, but I never realized until that day how much of an impact he had on people.”
Landsberg went to work every day up until the start of the coronavirus outbreak. When his kids insisted that he remain home, he would call them three times a day to check in. “He would ask, ‘How did the store do, did you have any big sales, and did anyone ask for me?’” says Jeffrey. “He sold to generations of family members and was famous for his Saturday morning spreads of bagels and lox at the store. People would line up to visit him. No job was too small. He was the people’s jeweler—some called him the Regis Philbin of the diamond business!”
Something else people will remember him for? Liberace’s famed candelabra ring, made in collaboration with the singer in the 1960s.
Landsberg is survived by a sister, three sons and daughters-in-law, and several grandchildren. Wife Carol died in 2015; they were married for 63 years.
A service has already taken place. Donations in Landsberg’s memory can be made to St. Francis Heart Hospital.
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