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1917

Geneva, Switzerland - Where It All Began...

  • 1917 Leon Naftule, opens his first jewelry & watch store in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • 1922 Leon meets a local neighbor, a gem cutter from Idar Oberstein, who teaches Leon how to cut gemstones. Leon becomes fascinated with the lapidary process especially pertaining to working with the watch industry fashioning sapphire and ruby crowns for Geneva watchmakers.
  • 1926 Leon opens his first lapidary shop on the Quai Des Sujets near the Rhone River in Geneva and hires 2 new interns to start working as gem cutters.

1935

Leon Naftule - Geneva, Switzerland

  • 1935 Leon expands his lapidary shop to a larger location and brings in his three sons to help in continuing to grow the family business. Jean Naftule, the oldest, was in charge of selling and cutting, Nathan and Eugene, the younger brothers, were being trained as cutters.
  • 1946 Leon officially changed the name of the Lapidary factory to Naftule Fils continuing to grow and expand particularly cutting of sapphires and rubies for the high end watch makers of Geneva

1947

Jean Naftule

  • 1947 Jean Naftule, the oldest of the Naftule brothers, found his passion more in the marketing and selling of fine gemstones and opened a jewelry store on the Place De La Fusterie in Geneva named 'Jean Naftule'. As the Lapidary was also growing, a year later Jean hired engineers to build drum-style lapidary machines.
  • 1952 The business continued to grow and Jean decided to expand the business to New York City as NAFCO Gems. At this time his son, Roland Naftule, started working in the family business selling gemstones by traveling around NYC and nearby towns.
  • 1964 Jean moves into his new office at 580 5th Avenue in New York City and continues expanding operations with his son Roland.

1962

Umba Mine - Tanzania

  • 1962 The Naftule family became involved in Tanzania mining ventures in the 1960’s and early 1970’s which were producing an array of different gems, including Umba sapphires and rubies, rhodolites and malaya garnets, chrome tourmalines, tanzanites, tsavorites and an assortment of other gems.

1968

Roland Naftule

  • 1968 Roland Naftule expands Nafco Gems sales across the entire USA while also traveling abroad to various countries to purchase rough and loose gemstones for the American and European market.
  • 1969 Keeping up with cutting demands from all Naftule family locations, USA, Geneva and the Tanzanian mining ventures, an additional cutting factory was opened in Shannon, Ireland.
  • 1972 Roland partnered with Plumbago Mining Corp (A tourmaline mining company in Maine). Nafco starts cutting and selling Maine tourmaline to the American market.
  • 1976 Roland moves NAFCO Gems to Arizona, continues increased nationwide sales force and opens a gem cutting lapidary factory in Phoenix.

1981

Roland Naftule - Gemstone Trade Organization Pioneer

  • 1981 One of the founding organizers of AGTA (American Gem Trade Association) President for 2 years 1983 - 1985, 12 years as chairman of the industry rules committee and 2 years on the board of governors of the AGTA Gemological Testing Center.
  • 1984 Founding organizer ICA (Int'l Colored Stone Association), Chairman of ICA's organizing committee and founding president from 1985 - 1989.
  • 1989 Founding organizer and chairman of the GILC (Gemstone Industry & Laboratory Conference)
  • 2001 Board of Governors - GIA (Gemological Institute of America); Chairman Colored Gemstone Advisory and Museum Committees for 12 years.
  • 1982 to date Roland has served various positions for CIBJO The World Jewelry Confederation including Vice President Colored Stone Commission, United States Colored Stone Commission representative , Vice President, Executive Committee and President's Council, President of Sector A (the sector responsible for the International standards of all gem materials including diamond, colored gems, coral pearl and gemmological commissions.

1982

Roland & Daughters

  • 1982Myriam started her journey at NAFCO learning from the bottom up from Gal Friday to working rough to cutting gems.
  • 1984 Myriam attended GIA in Santa Monica, California and became a Graduate Gemologist. Myriam eventually found her niche in the marketing arena for NAFCO unleashing her creative passion.
  • 1994 Stephanie started with NAFCO learning the keen art of the gem 'business' side of things sorting, working with finished gems and buying to the management of the office & sales team which she continues to do to this day.

Present Day

Myriam & Stephanie Naftule

Today, sisters Myriam and Stephanie continue the Naftule family tradition of supplying the gem and jewelry industry with the finest of gemstones and providing impeccable service that has earned NAFCO it's golden reputation. In addition the sisters have added other fine gemstone collections including fine calibrated diamond cut round and princess cut square ruby and sapphire melee along with many other gemstones such as tourmaline, spinels, Tsavorite garnets, amethyst, etc.

We look forward to being your fine color gemstone partner and working with you for years to come!