Joseph Schwartz
New York—Joseph Schwartz, who co-founded Montreaux Jewelry after starting his career on the bench, died Dec. 20.

He was 90.

Schwartz, who split his time between Queens, New York and Boca Raton, Florida, started his career repairing watches and making pearl jewelry as a bench jeweler.

Later, he opened his own jewelry company with Irving Katz called Montreaux Jewelry, making high-end 18-karat and platinum jewelry for top retailers and becoming one of the first manufacturers to bring French-style designs to the United States.

Today, his legacy continues—his sons Eric and Owen are, along with Joel Weiss, the founders and operators of Carrera Casting in New York.

Joe and Sheila Papaleo, who worked alongside Schwartz for more than 40 years, described him in the guest book for his online obituary as an “influential icon of the jewelry industry” who was sought out for his insight by jewelers, family and friends.

It was his creativity and innovation that made his company synonymous with “exceptional, artistic elegance,” she wrote, yet he always made sure his employees got the recognition they deserved as well.

“Joe was genuinely gracious. He enhanced us with his thoughtfulness, kindness and caring … He was the best of men. He was the best of friends. We will miss him forever.”

Schwartz was preceded in death by his wife, Rita, whom he was with for 61 years.

He is survived by his sister-in-law, Norma Shapiro; his sons, Owen (Laurie), Eric (Robin) and Billy; grandchildren Ariel and Lewis Silberman, Morgan and Austin Curtis, Dean, Jessie, Miles and Mason; great-grandchildren Violet and Sadie Silberman, and Chloe Curtis; and his “girlfriend,” Marilyn Cohen.

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