About twenty-five years ago, during her first day on the job at the International Gemological Institute in New York, Rosemary (Rosie) Jaklitsch made a serious error.
In the agency’s reception room, she saw a man standing off to the side gently rocking back and forth with his eyes closed. Immediately, she told her colleagues to call an ambulance, telling them she believed a client was having a heart attack.
Fortunately, she was wrong. There was no health crisis at all. Instead, a Hasidic Jewish gentleman was simply praying his afternoon service in the style of his ancestors.
“I guess you could say it was a part of my introduction to New York’s diamond district,” says Rosie, who now serves as director of operations for IGI’s grading operation in New York.
Diversity in the Diamond District
“I love the wonderful diversity of people in this district and this industry,” she explains. “It’s one of the things that keep work interesting.”
It was Rosie’s brother, Peter, an IGI gemologist, who helped land her a job at the agency, an independent laboratory that grades and evaluates diamonds and fine jewelry.
With fourteen international offices, it’s one of the largest such laboratories in the world. More than thirty professional diamond graders now work in its New York offices alone.
Fifteen years her senior, Rosie’s brother Peter not only introduced her to IGI, but also to the countercultural youth movement sweeping America and Europe at the time.
One thing, among others, that lingers on from those days is Rosie’s love for the rock and roll jam band The Grateful Dead and its lead guitarist Jerry Garcia.
Rosie’s proud of her extensive collection of tie-dyed Grateful Dead t-shirts and the nearly twenty live shows she’s been to. But perhaps she delights most of all in the intricately multicolored Deadhead logo she embroidered, over a two-year period, on the back of a denim jacket.
Keeping Hopeful about the Future
“Their music takes me away, reminds me of good times, and helps keep me hopeful about the future,” explains Rosie.
Indeed, she has reason to be hopeful with regard to her husband of many years, William. A long-time devotee of Southern rock, he was always highly resistant to the Grateful Dead.
Recently, for the first time ever, he’s begun listening to some of the music with her, and even wearing an occasional Grateful Dead t-shirt. “You never know,” says Rosie, “things can always come around your way.”
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