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Sterling’s Nate Light Dies at 86

Mar 21, 2021 8:21 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Nathan “Nate” Light, who was responsible for the growth of Sterling Jewelers, died on March 12 at the age of 86.

Light joined Sterling in 1977. As CEO, he helped turned the company from a 32-store chain into a retail giant with more than 1,000 branches and 14,000 employees. It’s now a subsidiary of Signet Jewelers, the US’s largest diamond retailer.

Tributes on an online memorial page emphasized Light’s amicable way of dealing with employees, as well as his vision as a businessman.

“I remember one time him coming to distribution for a quick meeting, [and] seeing everyone standing and sitting around,” one commenter wrote. “He proceeded to drop to the ground and sit like everyone else. He never acted better than anyone else, and that’s why we all liked him.”

Another recalled a financial road show in 1986 ahead of Sterling’s Nasdaq flotation.

“The closing line to our primitive slide-show presentation was Nate stating that we are not the biggest company on the top line, but we are the biggest on the bottom line, compared to our competition,” he said. “As it turned out, Sterling/Signet became the biggest on all lines.”

Light also won accolades for his philanthropy. In 2016, the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) — now called Diamonds Do Good — granted him its Lifetime Achievement Award, partly for his work launching the industry’s “Party with a Purpose” at the JCK Las Vegas show in 1994.

Image: Nate Light. (Diamonds Do Good/YouTube)
Tags: Diamonds Do Good, Nate Light, Rapaport News, Signet Jewelers, sterling, Sterling Jewelers
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