By Michelle Graff
Perle Suna wearing Suna Bros.’ Queen Anne’s Lace necklace, her favorite piece of jewelry made by her family’s business.
New York--Perle Suna, the longtime driving force behind jewelry manufacturer Suna Bros. and a beloved figure in the jewelry industry, has died. She was 95.

Born Perle Wurtzel on June 30, 1921 in Brooklyn, New York, Suna graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in English and later earned a master’s in education from Adelphi University.

She married Kenneth Suna--who started Suna Bros. with his brother Joel after apprenticing under jewelers in Warsaw, Poland in the late 1920s--during World War II while he was stationed at an Army/Air Force Base in Florida. The couple eventually settled in Freeport, Long Island and had three children, Aron, Lila and Jonathan.

Suna spent her time in Freeport championing for the disadvantaged.

Then, one day in 1972 she went to work at the Suna Bros. offices on what was supposed to be a temporary basis, filling in for an office manager who had suddenly resigned. After interviewing candidates for three days, she decided that she was best suited to fill the position and so she stayed, for the next 38 years.

During that time, Suna was a driving force behind the company, working alongside her husband until his death in 1975 and then with her two sons.

A member of the American Gem Society, Suna became a certified gemologist and a registered supplier along the way and attended many of the AGS’s annual Conclave events, and was known for hosting a biannual industry party, which many people attended just to be regaled by her.

She also had the chance to be one of the founding members of the Women’s Jewelry Association but declined because she didn’t believe in the exclusivity of the sexes and, instead, championed combined equality.

She retired from Suna Bros. in 2009 when she was 88 years old.

Outside of work, Suna loved Tudor history, opera, bridge, movies and, perhaps most of all, books. She had a nearly lifelong book-a-day habit--her favorite was mystery author Dick Frances--and finished 32,120 titles in her lifetime.

She is survived by her younger sisters, Elaine Surnamer and Delores Siegel; her children; Jonathan, Lila and Aron (Marjorie); and six grandchildren, Kenneth, Claire, Natalie, Carolyn, Phillip and Lauren.

Services took place Monday at Riverside Memorial Chapel in New York.

Contributions may be made in her memory to the Mt. Sinai Visiting Doctors Program or the Anti-Defamation League.

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.