By Brecken Branstrator
New Haven, Conn.—Author and jewelry historian Rosalie Berberian died Feb. 8 at her home in New Haven, Connecticut.

She was 92 years old.

20200219 Rosalie BerberianRosalie BerberianBerberian was born April 16, 1927 in Lowell, Massachusetts to Khachig and Hripsme Arabian Marzbanian.

She married the late Karnig A. Berberian in 1954, and the two ended up eventually settling in New Haven, where they raised their son, Aram D. Berberian.

After falling in love with a small fishing village on Martha’s Vineyard called Menemsha in the late ‘60s, they spent summers there in their small cottage, where Berberian enjoyed beachcombing.

According to an online obituary, Berberian was “fiercely independent and an early feminist,” and had a love for learning that led to her earning post-graduate degrees from Yale University, where she was a faculty member at the School of Public Health and engaged in research.

She eventually turned her hobby of going to tag sales and flea markets into a full-time career, starting ARK Antiques with her husband after she retired from Yale.

She continued to research as she collected and learned about American art pottery from the Arts and Crafts period (approximately 1880-1920), eventually becoming president of the American Art Pottery Association.

ARK Antiques eventually became known as a leading authority on American silver, jewelry and metalwork from the Arts and Crafts period.

Berberian loved helping clients develop their collections as well as teaching and sharing.

One of her favorite activities, her family said, was to attend the annual Arts and Crafts Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, where she would inspire many with her speaking and group discussions.

Gail Brett Levine, executive director of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, recalled Berberian, whom she referred to as a “powerhouse,” in the early days of Jewelry Camp at the University of Maine.

“She was one of those rare individuals who presented without reading her notes; she would look at the slide and off she went,” Levine told National Jeweler. “One was spellbound!”

Berberian seemed to have that effect on many.

According to a tribute column in the Arts & Crafts Collector, she left the stage at the Arts and Crafts Conference last February—she was up there at the age of 91—after a 50-minute talk to “an extended standing ovation.”

In February 2019, her book, “Creating Beauty: Jewelry and Enamels of the American Arts & Crafts Movement,” was published, representing the culmination of her work in the field, an accomplishment of which she was very proud.

She also won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the conference for her contributions to the field.

Berberian is survived by her son, Aram; his wife, Theresa; and grandchildren Katharine, Caroline and Dmitri.

Her family said that, true to her pragmatic nature, Berberian did not want to have formal funeral services.

TAGS:   Obituaries
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