Richard Orbach, Founder
Seasoned gemstone dealer/online-marketing pioneer & musician Richard Orbach has remained tireless in the pursuit of his professional passion: creating substantive meaningful ways to present and propagate the beauty of gems.
It's fair to say that Orbach inherited his vigorous entrepreneurial mindset from his late father, Laurence Orbach, a Holocaust survivor, who founded the jewelry industry's first bonded delivery company (AAA Jewelers Messenger Service) and spearheaded the relocation of Union Carbide's Linde Star manufacturing plant from East Chicago, Illinois, to Kibbutz Nachshon in Israel. "Both my parents implanted in my sister and me the seed of an unspoken directive; to bring beauty and light into the world because of the darkness they endured during the Holocaust."
The younger Orbach cut his teeth part-time in these ventures while completing courses at the Gemological Institute of America and attending New York University, still finding time to perform as a musician/composer. He credits his GIA instructor - the institute’s esteemed vice-president, the late Bert Krashes - for opening up the world of colored gems to him. Richard and his father started Westropa Import Company in order to distribute Kibbutz Nachshon's synthetic star products to catalog houses and the thriving U.S. jewelry-manufacturing market.
Bolstered by the entrepreneurial success he began enjoying as one of only two sources in the global synthetic-sapphire market, Richard began trading natural precious sapphires and rubies to catalog houses and manufacturing jewelers around the country. His exploratory forays into precious gemstone trading gave rise to a powerful passion for natural precious gems that transformed his career and turned it exclusively in that direction.
In 1979, Orbach was contracted by Merril Lynch Pierce Fenner and Smith to conduct its first extensive feasibility study on whether precious gems could be part of closed- or open-ended SEC registered mutual fund offerings. Thereafter, he would be hired by diamond giant M. Fabrikant and Sons as director of investment marketing for Leer Gem, Fabrikant’s colored-gemstone division.
Orbach’s independent industry ventures have been a series of cutting-edge firsts. A direct-marketing devotee, he negotiated to have his debut firm, Orbach Gem Corporation, become the first gem company to insert its full-color, multi-page catalog into the 3 inch thick Jewelers Circular Keystone Directory (circulation 53,000). An early adopter of digital marketing technologies, he launched a new division called Orbach Marketing Systems which produced the first digital directory of important gemstones in the global market. For this virtual curated collection - the GEMFOCUS Project - Orbach photographed and digitized the collections of Manhattan’s leading colored stone dealers, creating a catalogue and extensive database that he distributed to the nation’s top jewelers including Black Starr and Frost, Tiffany and Harry Winston - who then called upon Orbach to produce the gems listed for their consideration.
The new frontier of the worldwide web would be a major turning point for this cutting-edge technology enthusiast, who immediately recognized it as a way to safely, securely and discretely trade gemstones in the global market. The challenge, as Orbach saw it, was “to infuse the online portal with the same clarity, immediacy, transparency and absolute assurance as a gem dealer’s private office - where trust and enduring relationships are built.”
Thus was born his next iconoclastic venture: CherryPicked.com - a groundbreaking website that featured outstanding gems and jewels of color where he premiered his CherryScoring™ system: a user-friendly rating-system for precious and exotic colored gems that employs expert opinions and algorithmic classifications to create a transparent presentation that set the bar for the industry. GemKey Magazine hailed CherryScoring's "perfect execution," and named its parent site as its "Best of the Web" for its ingenious online presentation as a secure, discrete, reliable portal for the sale of complex precious gems. At NYU's Graduate School of Business, it was featured as one of two case studies in a course surveying "Niche Businesses of Note."
Orbach's choice of preeminent lapidary Jerrold Green as his transacting partner in 1998 proved as well-founded as his inventive rating-system. Green was heir-apparent to the venerable lapidary workshop of the late Reginald C. Miller, Inc. and became the company’s sole proprietor in 1990. Whether coincidence or kismet, Orbach credits his encounters 20 years earlier in 1978 with the legendary Reginald Miller as having been instrumental in his enthusiastic embrace of the precious gemstone trade: “It was a privilege to witness the rarely-revealed art of the lapidary as performed by one of its most celebrated practitioners. Mr. Miller showed me his prized gemstones with reverence and delight, speaking of them almost as if they were his children. He inspired me, too, by showing me what a gem dealer should be - infusing transparency into the cutting process, the provenance, the buying and selling."
Upon concluding his on-premise residency in Green's workshop in January 2016, Orbach decided to present his own filtered choice of beautiful gems for sale with a concentration on visual storytelling on a new visually optimized responsively designed web site. Visitors can now enjoy his image-centric minimalist approach of presenting gems of color with a blend of both precision (frontal & size/coin images) and aesthetic (side, back and interior images) qualities.
With a multipotentialites penchant for photography, micro-photography, video and documentary story-telling, Orbach uses video, still photo and micro-photography techniques similar to the ones he used while documenting the paths of many extraordinary and historic gems.
Orbach has been a featured speaker at a number of forums, events and engagements most notable amongst them are; the International Colored Gemstone Association World Congress in Australia, the Canadian Gemological Association Symposium in Toronto and the Jewelers Circular Keystone's international conference in Las Vegas. Married and the father of two daughters, Richard resides in New York City - the city he credits for perpetuating his life-long fascination with creators & creations, whether born in mother earth over millennia or improvised in the eternity of a transcendent musical moment.