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Henry Paul Dunay, Esteemed Jeweler, 88 November 13, 2023 (1 comment)


New York, NY--Henry Paul Dunay, the esteemed jeweler and designer known for his exquisite craftsmanship and innovative designs, passed away on November 10, 2023, at the age of 88.

Born Henry Loniewski in Jersey City, New Jersey, on May 1, 1935, he was the second of three sons of Polish Americans Henry and Helen Loniewski. At the age of 18, recognizing the potential impediment of his surname, he made the pivotal decision to change it to Dunay, adopting his mother's short and memorable maiden name.

Henry Dunay's journey into the world of fine jewelry began at the tender age of 14 when he apprenticed in the workshop of New York City jeweler Rudolph Cacioli. Starting as an errand boy, he swiftly ascended the ranks to become a master model maker and setter, showcasing not only the fineness of his work but also the refinement of his proportions and curves. His innate talent and dedication to his craft caught the attention of Cacioli, setting the stage for a remarkable career.

In 1956, fueled by a vision to break away from the conventional styles dominating jewelry shop windows, Dunay founded his own firm. Initially, he took on projects from other manufacturers, including the esteemed Harry Winston, to sustain himself. However, it wasn't long before his exceptional skills and innovative designs gained recognition, catapulting him to success and fame.

A turning point in Henry Dunay's career came with his victory at the De Beers Diamond International Award. This prestigious accolade not only validated his artistic prowess but also propelled images of his designs across the globe, marking the beginning of his ascent to international acclaim. Dunay's commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional jewelry design and his keen eye for proportions and curves set him apart in an industry saturated with conformity. His entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to his craft paved the way for a career that would leave an indelible mark on the world of fine jewelry.

A man of pride in his heritage, Henry seamlessly integrated his background into his creations, drawing inspiration from his upbringing and cultural roots. His legacy is immortalized in the Sabi finish, a groundbreaking technique he introduced, inspired by the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic. This technique, characterized by finely hand-etched lines reflecting asymmetry, simplicity, and the integrity of natural processes, catapulted Henry Dunay to unparalleled success.

Henry amassed over 50 National and International Awards in his illustrious career, including the prestigious Diamond International award four times. His innovative designs and the Sabi finish captured the attention of not only the American audience but also found admiration in Japan and other parts of the world.

Henry's career began with humble origins, but his unwavering passion for jewelry design drove him to become a trailblazer within the industry. His journey involved exhibiting pieces at renowned institutions such as the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. and the Museum of Natural History in NYC. His artistic creations were not just accessories but true objets d'art, blending elegance with cultural depth.

Travel played a pivotal role in shaping Henry's creative vision. Inspired by his journeys to Japan, Hungary, and various parts of Europe, his designs reflected a global perspective. His love for exploration and cultural immersion fueled his ability to craft pieces that transcended mere jewelry, telling stories of diverse landscapes and traditions.

In the latter part of his career, he became a sought-after designer for private clients, counting celebrities, heads of state and politicians. Elizabeth Taylor, Hillary Clinton, Drew Barrymore were among his many patrons. His pieces graced the shelves of prestigious stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, alongside an exclusive clientele of A-List Celebrities.

Henry married his high school sweetheart Carol Restivo in 1958. They had two children: Valerie and Paul. They divorced in 1995. In1996, Henry married Linda Orlick of Goldstein Public Relations where she developed the Henry Dunay brand which soared to worldwide recognition including the launch of his signature Sabi Fragrance, Henry Dunay: A precious life coffee table book, Henry Dunay timepieces. His third marriage was to Frinette Simon in 2013. 

Beyond his professional achievements, Henry was a true gentleman, a charismatic presence who could light up any room. Married to Frinette Dunay for over 10 years and together over 17 years, he leaves behind a legacy that extends to three stepchildren, Sharon Bella Simon, Frinette Susan Lupo, and Robert Valenzuela, as well as nine grandchildren who fondly remember their Grandpa Henry.

Besides his loving wife, he is survived by his daughter Valerie Dunay Corvin, her husband Scott, their children Alex Corvin, her husband Eric Walder, Libby Dunay Corvin and brother Will Corvin. Henry's son Paul Dunay, his wife Isabel and his awesome grandsons Philip and Pete. Henry's granddaughter Alex Corvin and her husband Eric Walder blessed him with two awesome great granddaughters, Winnie Rae and Annie Rose.

Henry Dunay's life and career are chronicled in the biography “A Precious Life,” authored by Penny Proddow and Marion Fasel. His impact on the world of fine jewelry will forever be remembered as a harmonious blend of artistry, innovation, and cultural appreciation.

As we celebrate the life of Henry Dunay, we reflect on the journey of a young apprentice who dared to dream, defied conventions, and ultimately became a luminary in the realm of jewelry design. His legacy lives on, not only in the brilliance of his creations but also in the inspiration he continues to provide to aspiring artisans in the world of fine craftsmanship. He will be missed by all who knew him, and especially by those who loved him. Services will be held at Andrew Torregrossa & Sons Funeral Home, 1305 79th Street Brooklyn, NY on Wednesday, November 15.

To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.

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Comments (1):

Our deapest condolences to Carole Kreit and her familiy as well as to Linda Orlick and her family.
We fondly remember Henry Dunay when he came as an exhibitor to the Basel World (formaly watch + jewelry fair), Switzerland.

Our heart goes out to his family and friends

Michel Mamie with Chantal, Lindy & Jackie
Switzerland, November 15th 2023

By Michel Mamie & his three daughters on Nov 15th, 2023 at 7:05pm

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