Independents

Industry Leader and Jeweler Herbert Littman Dies at 91

IndependentsFeb 25, 2021

Industry Leader and Jeweler Herbert Littman Dies at 91

He and his brother grew the largest privately-owned jewelry retail chain in the U.S. before Fred Meyer purchased it in 1998.

Herbert Littman, former co-chairman of Elangy Corporation, died Feb. 21. He helped grow Littman and Barclay Jewelers into the largest privately-owned jewelry retail chain in the U.S. before Fred Meyer Jewelers acquired it in 1998.

Boca Raton, Fla.—Herbert Littman, former co-chairman of Elangy Corporation, died Feb. 21 at the age of 91.

Littman graduated from Rutgers University and then served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

The lifelong jeweler and his brother Leonard built Littman and Barclay Jewelers into what would become the largest privately-owned jewelry retail chain in the U.S. with 130 stores.

The company used two store names; Barclay was used for mall stores and generally had higher-end merchandise, his nephew, Michael Littman, confirmed to National Jeweler.

In 1996, New Jersey Monthly Magazine named Littman Jewelers “Family Business of the Year.”

Fred Meyer Jewelers bought the chain from Elangy Corp. in 1998.

Understanding that a business’s greatest strength lay in its people, Littman focused on developing and executive innovative training programs for staff, his obituary said.

This included his signature “Breakfast with Herb” sessions, which focused on selling skills and customer interactions—he’d bring a stack of $2 bills to give to salespeople who answered questions correctly.

His selling philosophy involved always greeting customers with a big smile, which he was always sure to do, and his obituary said the Littman staff adored him.

After the chain sold to Fred Meyer, two members of the next generation—Michael and his cousin, Gary Littman—opened Gary Michaels Fine Jewelry in Manalapan, New Jersey in 2002, where Littman continued his passion for training for a handful of years before retiring to Florida, Michael said.

He was a founder of the Diamond Council of America and served as vice president of Jewelers of America.

In addition to the business and his family, Littman also loved art and giving to charity.

He helped establish the first scholarship to Rutgers and was a major donor to the university’s Zimmerli Art Museum, to which he donated major collections.

He also was chairman of Israel Bonds in central New Jersey and was active in the United Way as well as many other charities.

Littman is survived by his wife, Linda; his son Robert and wife, Roz, of Boca Raton, Florida; his son Gary Littman and wife, Kelly; and five grandchildren.

Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

AuctionsApr 16, 2021
Try On This Diamond and Pearl Tiara Before It Heads to Auction

Sotheby’s created an Instagram filter for the crown, estimated to sell for up to $1.5 million.

SurveysApr 16, 2021
March Retail Sales Surge

Another round of stimulus checks helped to bolster last month’s retail sales.

CollectionsApr 16, 2021
Supplier Kim International Revives its Catalog

It showcases 2021 and 2022 styles, with most ready to ship from Dallas, Texas.

Brought to you by
4 Reasons You Need This Program for Mother’s Day

Learn how to increase customer loyalty and revenue by making JM™ Care Plan a cornerstone of your business plan.

TrendsApr 16, 2021
Piece of the Week: Anthony Lent’s ‘Lunar Galaxy’ Earrings

Colorful gems enliven a classic celestial motif.

Weekly QuizApr 16, 2021
This Week's Quiz
Test your knowledge of jewelry news from the week of April 12-16, 2021.
Take the Quiz
TechnologyApr 15, 2021
Blue Nile Hires Amazon, Timex Execs

The jewelry retailer named a new chief operating officer and senior vice president of supply chain.

CollectionsApr 15, 2021
Check Out Stone and Strand’s First Bridal Collection

All six styles are priced under $2,000.

Brought to you by
Evaluating Your Inventory For Success in 2021 

After months of pandemic-driven social distancing, restrictions and lock-downs, consumers will be excited to visit your store. Now is the time to ensure you have the right inventory on-hand to capitalize on that excitement!

GradingApr 15, 2021
GCAL Introduces Its New Cut Grade Standard, 8X

Diamonds must receive a grade of “excellent” across eight criteria to be deemed an 8X.

×