Christina Lang Assael, President and CEO of NYC-based Assael Inc. – North America’s largest purveyor of fine pearls and precious coral – passed away on 21st December, 2021, in New York, following a serious illness.
Born in Sweden in 1946, Christina received an International Baccalaureate in Modern Languages, and travelled abroad in 1968 to begin a thirteen-year career as a model and commercial actress in London, Paris, and New York. She entered the Manhattan art world at Sotheby’s, serving as liaison to top clients. She then created her own business as a private advisor, acquiring fine art and antiques for connoisseurs and collectors.
It was at Sotheby’s that Christina first heard the name Salvador Assael, the legendary “Pearl King” in the 1970s, when he sold the first-ever gem Tahitian Pearl necklace at Harry Winston. Christina would later meet, fall in love with and marry Salvador in 1991, traveling the world with him to acquire the very finest pearls and supply them to US jewellery retailers. One of the most exciting moments of this power couple’s career came in 1993, when Assael Inc. achieved the world record at Sotheby’s for the highest price ever paid for a gem pearl strand at auction – $2.3 million, a record that stands to the present day.
Christina took the reins of the Assael brand in 2011 and built the company beyond her husband’s enduring legacy. She steered the brand in new directions, ushering in innovative pearl jewellery design and adding new categories to the company’s esteemed offering. Inspired by Salvador’s pioneering spirit, Christina introduced responsibly sourced, rare coral, making Assael the foremost supplier of precious coral in North America.
The Assael brand will continue as a family-owned company, with Senior Vice President Peggy Grosz at the helm of the business operations.
Solitaire interviewed Christina Lang Assael in July 2021.