Nancy Brewer, a former member of the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Board of Governors and notable jewelry manufacturer, passed away in early August. Her jewelry design firm, Nancy B. & Co., was a premier destination for gold earrings and colored stone jewelry designed for working women. The contributions that she made during her more than 30-year career paved the way for women in the gem and jewelry industry.
“I was fortunate to know Nancy for over 35 years as a mentor and dear friend. She was a remarkable woman and entrepreneur; brave, self-made, and one who gave back to our industry and fostered the development and success of her peers,” said Dione D. Kenyon, chair of the GIA Board of Governors. “I am one of many who are deeply grateful for the encouragement, support and leadership she provided over the course of her career.”
“I fondly remember Nancy as gregarious, determined and always ready to offer strategic guidance as a valued member of GIA’s Board of Governors,” said Susan Jacques, GIA president and CEO “Her charisma and drive set her apart as a pioneer in the 1970s, at a time when there were few women-owned gem and jewelry businesses. Nancy was a mentor and inspiration to so many women in the trade. It was an honor to have known her and we greatly appreciate all that Nancy contributed to GIA and the jewelry industry.”
Brewer was the founder and CEO of Nancy B. & Co., established in 1978 and acquired by jewelry manufacturer B.A. Ballou in 2005, and currently a division of the Carla Corporation. She served as a member of GIA’s Board of Governors from 1997 to 2007.
“Nancy’s manufacturing expertise, along with her creativity and business acumen, perfectly positioned her as the ideal GIA board member, at that time,” said Kathryn Kimmel, retired GIA senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
Throughout Brewer’s career, she was active in many industry organizations, serving on the boards of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America (MJSA), the Jewelry Information Center, the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA), the Jewelers Board of Trade, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, The Plumb Club, the 24 Karat Club of NY, and the Jewelry Circle, City of Hope. She received lifetime achievement awards from MJSA and WJA.