New York, NY—Steffan Aletti, a longtime industry journalist and a member of the 24 Karat Club of the City of New York, died May 30 after a lengthy illness.
Aletti was the one-time editor of AJM magazine (American Jewelry Manufacturer, now renamed MJSA Journal). His sharp eye and sharper wit, combined with thorough and in-depth reporting, made AJM a gold standard publication for manufacturing jewelers. He also was a highly talented photographer as well as writer. Aletti also served as executive director of the Jewelry Information Center (now part of Jewelers of America).
Although Aletti was retired from “official” work for many years, he remained active in the industry and put both his writing and photography skills to use for the 24 Karat Club. A keen historian with interests both in and out of the jewelry industry, Aletti was a key part of the Club’s member newsletter, The Karat. His articles profiling longtime Club members helped tell Club history with his trademark dry wit. And anyone brave enough to match wits with him in a trivia contest usually lost.
He also was frequently called upon to document Club events with his camera. The annual Summer Outing always included a wide-angle photo of all attendees, often a bit of a dramatic comedy as Aletti worked to round up more than 100 members and their guests, then climbed up on a ladder to get everyone into the photo.
Aletti was born and raised in New York City, and remained the quintessential New Yorker throughout his life. He studied both music and fine arts at Syracuse University, and lived for nine years in Providence, RI, but always remained true to his home city. His friends spoke fondly of the special tours he gave to share his love of the city with them, and they even joked about “Aletti’s Rock,” his favorite spot in Central Park.
In addition to his writing and photography, Aletti was an accomplished musician. A fine pianist, he learned to play by ear as a young child and while his collegiate studies didn’t lead to a career in music he remained a great lover of all forms of music—especially classical—throughout his life.
On a personal note, I greatly enjoyed Steffan’s company working together on The Karat newsletter. I had always known him slightly as a fellow journalist, of course, but I got to know him well as we worked on the newsletter together. He was not only a terrific contributor, but he was also a keen set of eyes for proofreading before going to press. Like two editors always will, we had a few friendly debates about commas vs. semicolons and other fine points of punctuation. He also once sent me home from a 24 Karat lunch with a huge bag of records for my husband, another Syracuse music graduate, and when we had extra tickets to the Philadelphia Orchestra, I sent them up to Steffan in hopes he’d feel up to hopping on an Amtrak train and coming down for the concert.