Jewelry TV co-founder Jerry Sisk, Jr. dies at age of 59

Gerald (Jerry) D. Sisk, Jr., the co-founder of Jewelry Television, passed away on January 13 at the age of 59.

The television innovator and gem expert was originally from New York and New Jersey.

He and two business partners, television veteran Bob Hall and jewelry expert Bill Kouns, in 1993 started Jewelry Television, the largest home-shopping gemstone retailer in the world.

Sisk, a GIA graduate gemologist, was known in the jewelry and gemstone business for his comprehensive knowledge of the trade. He was a member of the International Colored Gemstone Association, and the Gemstone Industry and Laboratory Conference committee.

His well-known industry handbook, Guide to Gems & Jewelry, has sold more than 15,000 copies and is now its second edition.

He reportedly visited more than 40 countries in his life, and was fluent in a half-dozen languages.

The Knoxville, Tennessee, company employs more than 1,200 staff and claims to be the largest retailer of loose gemstones in the United States.

Sisk was named in April 2012 by trade publication JCK Magazine as one of the top five most influential people in the gems and gemology industry.

Sisk is survived by his wife of 37 years, Karen Lawhorn Sisk, his mother and sister.