By Brecken Branstrator
Paul Fisher, a well-known estate jewelry, pearl and gemstone dealer, died Dec. 4 at the age of 92.
New York—Legendary jeweler Paul Fisher, who dealt in estate jewelry as well as pearls and gemstones, died Dec. 4 due to complications from pneumonia.

He was 92 years old.

Born in Vienna, Austria in 1927, Fisher was a fifth-generation jeweler.

His family’s firm was started in the 1850s in Vienna by Julius Fisher, who was a natural pearl dealer specializing in pearls used as buttons.

In 1921, his grandsons, Ferdinand and Robert, opened the company Bruder Fisher to continue the family legacy in Vienna.

Once cultured pearls began hitting the market, they transitioned into buying and selling fine jewelry.

Robert Fisher took the business to London in 1938 and opened a New York office in 1941.

Paul Fisher, his son, established Paul Fisher Inc. in 1956, which now involves the sixth generation of family.

Paul Fisher Inc. currently has offices in New York, London and Geneva as well as representatives in Hong Kong and Paris.

Fisher worked in the jewelry industry for 74 years, from 1945 up until the day he was hospitalized, Nov. 27, according to his daughter, Marianne Fisher.

She attributes much of his success to his willingness to share his knowledge, maintain his honor and integrity, and the vast experience he gained through his travels.

He was loved because he was always fair and kind, she said.

“My dad was a very generous person. He didn’t care about being rich; he cared about being kind, about being a good human being, that was very important to him,” Marianne said.

She also described him as being “Yoda-like.”

“He was a wise man—always an old soul and knowledgeable,” she told National Jeweler.

“He traveled the world and, having survived the Holocaust, had a great appreciation for life and with any hardship always chose to see the glass half full, not half empty.”

His generosity showed clearly in what some have called his greatest legacy: the “Paul Fisher School.”

Fisher would take in apprentices—always from outside the United States to build an international network—and teach them for six months at a time, showing them everything he knew, giving them access to clients and even letting them purchase pieces on the Paul Fisher Inc. account.

He did this, his daughter said, “out of the goodness of his heart.”

He took so many in that his apprentices now number in the 40s.

Two continue to work for the company today, and many threw Fisher a birthday party in 1989, when he turned 62, and attended his 90th birthday party in Basel, Switzerland in 2017.

Outside of jewelry, skiing was his greatest passion until an accident in Aspen, Colorado in 1998 forced him to stop, his daughter said.

Marianne said he was also an avid reader who would go through one or two books a week, mostly historical biographies.

She said there has been an outpouring of sadness from the industry at the news of his death, as for many it represents the end of an era in which business is done and honored with a handshake by “true gentlemen.”

Fisher is survived by his six children: four sons—John, Peter, Francis, Walter—and two daughters—Christa and Marianne.

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