By Michelle Graff
New York--Camilla Dietz Bergeron, who started an antique and estate jewelry company after working on Wall Street in the ‘70s and ‘80s, died May 20 at the age of 76.  

Her eponymous New York-based firm shared the news of its founder’s passing in its e-newsletter sent out May 21, writing: “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of our dear friend, mentor and colleague Camilla Dietz Bergeron. Camilla … found great success on Wall Street before making her indelible mark in the jewelry world.

20180530 Camilla Dietz Bergeron Antique and estate jewelry company founder Camilla Dietz Bergeron in 1996“Camilla was a leader and a fighter until the very end. We will miss her guidance, her charm and her many memorable Southern expressions. Her spirit will live on forever, and her elegance will put a smile on our faces when we think of her.”

Born March 11, 1942 in Covington, Georgia, Bergeron graduated from Vanderbilt University and then moved to New York City to pursue a career on Wall Street.

She was a founding partner of Furman, Selz, Mager, Dietz and Birney Inc. in 1973, a firm that specialized in funding for small- and mid-sized companies and was sold to Xerox in 1987.

“There are many things in life that I wanted to achieve and being on Wall Street was just one of them,” Bergeron is quoted as saying on her antique and estate jewelry company’s website. “I love the challenge of starting something new and watching it grow and blossom.”

In 1989, Bergeron started something else new—Camilla Dietz Bergeron Ltd., which she launched with business partner Gus Davis, a specialist in colored gemstones such as Burmese rubies, Kashmir sapphires and Colombian emeralds.

Over 26 years, Bergeron and Davis built a company that buys and sells antique, estate and period jewelry, with a special emphasis on the Edwardian, Art Deco and Retro periods. Among the many purchases the pair made over the years was the emerald and diamond Bulgari ring that Richard Burton gave to Elizabeth Taylor on the set of 1963’s “Cleopatra.”

Despite Bergeron’s passing, the New York-based business will continue with Davis at the helm.

Outside of her company, Bergeron was a former executive board member and president of the American Society of Jewelry Historians and a frequent lecturer at museums and for other organizations on jewelry and business topics.

She also was an active Vanderbilt University alumna.

Bergeron is survived by her husband, Jean Maurice Georges Bergeron; one sister, Harriet Nunnally; two goddaughters; and her devoted friend and business partner, Gus Davis.

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