By Hannah Connorton
hannah.connorton@nationaljeweler.com
This image, pulled from the Rafaello&Co. Instagram page Tuesday, shows Aron “Eric” Aranbayev with a caption referencing him as an “angel” and being “in great hands now.”
New York--A Diamond District jeweler known for his celebrity clientele was killed in a hit-and-run incident in the Forest Hills area of Queens on Sunday and his death has been ruled a homicide.

According to news reports, Aron “Eric” Aranbayev, 40, a founder of the New York-based jewelry company Rafaello & Co., was hit by a Dodge Magnum just before midnight after allegedly arguing with another man, possibly over a parking spot. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he died on Monday.

New York City police, who did not respond to National Jeweler’s request for information on the case by deadline, are still looking for the driver who hit him.

The Rafaello & Co. Instagram handle, @rafaelloandco, has multiple posts acknowledging Aranbayev’s passing, including a post from Tuesday featuring an image of Aranbayev and a caption reading “Your (sic) in great hands now. I will make you proud I promise E.”

Rafaello & Co., headquartered in Manhattan’s Diamond District, was founded in 2009 by Aranbayev, his father Rafael Aranbayev and cousin Gabriel Jacobs.

The company has sold to and dressed many high-profile clients, including Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, musicians Drake, Chris Brown, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, and the Saudi royal family, according to the timeline on its website.

DJ Khaled also is listed in the timeline as a customer of Rafaello & Co.

Earlier this year, Rafaello & Co. filed a lawsuit against the rapper and record executive over a number of high-end jewelry pieces they had sent to him on a trial basis and which, they claim, he never paid for or returned.

Just this week, news surfaced that DJ Khaled has filed a countersuit against the jeweler denying he owns them money for any jewelry and alleging that it was actually Rafaello & Co. that cheated him out of money by lying about the value of jewelry they sold to him.





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