Herb Bridge, right, with his brother Bob at the Gem Awards in 1998. The industry icon died Tuesday at the age of 93. (Photo courtesy Jewelers of America)
Seattle--Herb Bridge, a leader in both the jewelry industry and the Seattle business community, died Tuesday surrounded by family at his home. He was 93.

Born in Seattle in 1925 to Ben and Sally Silverman Bridge, Bridge was “born into” the jewelry business and started working at Ben Bridge Jeweler as soon as he could see over the counter, he once told the Puget Sound Business Journal.

He joined the U.S. Navy shortly after the country entered World War II. It was the start of a 41-year career in the Navy and Naval Reserve in which he would rise to the rank of rear admiral.

After the war, he returned to working in his family’s jewelry store.

His father and company namesake, Ben Bridge, turned the business over to Herb and his brother Bob when they were 29 and 23, respectively. Together, they grew Ben Bridge Jeweler from one store on the corner of Fourth and Pike in Seattle into what is now one of the largest specialty jewelers in the United States.

When he turned 59, Herb Bridge passed his portion of the business onto his son, Jon. (Ben Bridge Jewelers was acquired by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in 2000 but still is run by the Bridge family.)

Bridge earned a number of awards throughout the course of this career from both the city of Seattle and the jewelry industry. His honors include being inducted into the National Jeweler Retailer Hall of Fame in 1998, alongside Arnold Bockstruck and Esther Fortunoff.

He is survived by two sons, Dan Bridge (Sim Shtull) and Jon Bridge (Bobbe)—who recently retired as co-CEO and general counsel of Ben Bridge Jeweler—along with four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and his partner, Edie Hilliard.

On Tuesday his great-niece, current Ben Bridge President and Chief Operating Officer Lisa Bridge, remembered Herb on Instagram, writing, “Walking to Rotary, AGS, or a Ben Bridge event with Uncle Herb was a slow process, because as we moved, he talked with every single person on the way. He always remembered people and spoke with a unique care, humor, and twinkle in his eye.

“That was Herb, he taught us to invest time and energy in to our community and everyone we came in to contact with. I am thankful to have had such a loving, wonderful role model in my life and I will strive to live a life in his honor.”

A more detailed story on Herb Bridge’s life and contributions to the jewelry industry will appear in a future edition of National Jeweler’s Daily newsletter. Those with memories they would like to share should contact Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff at 212-687-2758 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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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.