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In Memoriam: Steffan Aletti, Industry Journalist, Musician, and Photographer June 05, 2018 (4 comments)


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.

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Comments (4):

This is a beautifully warm obituary for Stefan Aletti

By Babette on Jun 7th, 2018 at 2:18pm

I hadn’t heard from Steffen in a while, and just typed his name to search the obits. I am saddened to learn of his passing. And I am sadder I didn’t know to attend his funeral. RIP Steffan.

By Bonnie Sovinee on Nov 5th, 2018 at 2:24am

So sorry to hear of Steffan’s passing.  While we had a business relationship revolving around photography for over 25 years, over the past couple of years our contacts had diminished.  I had phoned him a few times with no return calls.  My wife and I were talking about him this (12/16/18) morning as we always have exchanged Christmas cards (last year he sent us two of the exact same one!). My calls today were to disconnected numbers.  My wife and I will always think fondly of Steffan.  Once years ago he had helped our snow stranded daughter in n.y.c. (we are in Los Angeles).  Such a kind, smart and very witty guy.

By michael blessing on Dec 16th, 2018 at 10:52pm

While I was at Syracuse U, Steffan introduced me to what was then rare repertoire by the likes of Fibich, Meyerbeer and Respighi and for that I felt always in his intellectual debt. I later found out he was a Lovecraftian, which would have made us further kindred spirits. The world of culture and learning is diminished by his passing.

By Don O'Connor on Apr 12th, 2019 at 12:32am

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