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In Conversation // Jim Haag and Sharon Novak ~ The House of Verdura

May 14 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Duke Fulco di Verdura (1899–1978) began his career in 1920s Paris, designing the iconic Maltese Cross Cuffs for his friend Coco Chanel. In 1934 Verdura ventured to America and designed jewels for stars of the era, including Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. He officially became an “American jeweler” on September 1, 1939, the day war broke out in Europe, when his friends, Cole Porter and Vincent Astor, financed his debut on Fifth Avenue. With Europe off-limits during the war, Verdura gained a following of high-profile clients among New York society and fashion’s best-dressed list, enticed by Verdura’s bold yet understated “chic”. Join the Charleston Library Society, jewel connoisseur Dr. Sharon Novak, and Jim Haag, Managing Director of Verdura and Belperron, as they dive into the jewelry empire that is Verdura.


$10 – Members or $15 – General Admission

About Sharon Novak:

Dr. Sharon Novak is a gemologist, writer, and jewelry historian.
Dr. Novak founded and heads Jewelry Athenaeum, a high jewelry curatorial and strategic advisory, working with jewelry firms as well as with private clients. Through her social media and interview series, she maintains a network of key luxury jewelry influencers worldwide and critical industry following, including Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Van Cleef and Arpels, Verdura and Cartier executives, the Economist, Vogue Magazine, members of multiple royal families, as well as through her 3,000 former business school students, who are now global industry leaders and jewelry clients from companies including Goldman Sachs and Intel.

Dr. Novak has been featured in press coverage in Vogue UK, BusinessWeek, Departures Magazine, Town and Country Magazine, Rapaport Magazine, Elite Traveler, Luxury Tribune.

Dr. Novak received a BA degree from the University of California at Berkeley , a PhD from MIT and a Graduate Gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Her teaching engagements include faculty and visiting faculty positions at the Kellogg School of Management, MIT, the University of Tokyo and UCLA. Dr. Novak’s work was cited in the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics, and her strategic advice has been reviewed and promoted by McKinsey & Company in advising executives on performance improvements.

About Jim Haag:

Jim Haag began his career in advertising in the mid 1970’s, just as the Mad Men era of three martini lunches was ending.  He was hired directly from the American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix, a top ranked international studies campus known to be a training ground for the CIA.  After a dozen years creating campaigns for the US Army, AT&T, 7up and Gillette, he was asked to head up DeBeers North American business.  He had perfect training for the highly secretive world of rough diamond trading and stayed a decade working in New York, London and Africa.

In the late 1990’s he left to try out his diamond skills at Harry’s son Ronald and ushering the company into the new millennium.  For the past 18 years, he has applied his passion to Verdura and Belperron and now serves as their Managing Director.

Jim’s second love is theatre and he gives most of his free time to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS where he serves on their Leadership Council.  His mission in life is, as artist Grant Wood put it, “to keep alive the sense of wonder and dream spirit that is born in all of us.”


Charleston Library Society
164 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401 United States
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