Henri Padani (R) _370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Padani Jewelry Company )
The Padani Jewelry company has been in existence for a year longer than the
The founders of the company, Malvin and Henri (Uri) Padani came to
the Land of Israel in the spirit of pioneers, but preferred the urban environs
to those of the kibbutz.
It is a fact that Henri Padani, who died on
Wednesday at age 92, was among the pioneers of Israel’s jewelry manufacturing
and silversmith industries. Malvin is the daughter of Joseph Reicher, a
prominent member of the Belgian Diamond Exchange, who established his own highly
successful business in Belgium in 1897.
Malvin married Padani, the
talented young jeweler and silversmith, and looked forward to the day when he
would be as important in the industry as was her father.
When World War
II broke out, the family fled from Antwerp to France, leaving the bulk of their
The young couple did not feel at home in Europe any more
after the war, and moved to Tel Aviv at the earliest opportunity. Economic
conditions were harsh, and not exactly conducive to a jewelry business, so Henri
Padani had to initially put his dream on hold while working as a fruit picker in
an orchard. When the harvest season was over, he found employment as a hotel
When he wasn’t on duty pouring drinks for hotel guests, he worked
at home using his minimal resources to produce one-of-a-kind pieces of
Tough as the situation was, the young Henri Padani, who
continued to nurture the dream of owning his own studio, was undaunted. In 1947,
although it seemed as if he had been waiting a very long time, he opened his
first design studio, which eventually grew into a sparkling empire dealing only
in the best quality merchandise and working in accordance with the highest
In addition to his own handcrafted designs, Padani
began selling jewelry, watches and gift items bearing some of the most
prestigious brand names such as Chopard, Cartier Bvlgari, Patek-Philippe, A.
Lange & Sohne, Jaeger-Lecoultre, Officine Panerai, Raymond Weil, Chanel,
Emporio-Armani, Burberry, Tiffany and others.
As Israel’s economy
improved and Padani’s workmanship and courteous service became known by word of
mouth among connoisseurs, wealthy tourists from abroad and affluent people in
the developing state, Padani began to open more stores in addition to his
flagship store in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Street, diagonally across the road from
the Tel Aviv Hilton. The Padani stores are well placed across the map of Israel
and there is also a Padani presence in England.
Henri Padani knew that
one should never rush anyone buying an item of jewelry. He was always kind and
courteous and frequently provided coffee and cake for his clientele. The coffee
was never served in paper cups.
Every Padani store in Israel and abroad
has an ambience of quiet sophistication, as did Henri Padani himself.
1970, Henri Padani’s son Beni, who had been a fighter pilot with the Israel Air
Force, decided to fold his wings and joined his father in the family business,
which continued to develop under his management.
Even after bowing out
from the day-to-day running of the business, Henri Padani liked to come in and
look at the beauty of creation and to take stock of what he had built.
is survived by his wife, Malvin, his sons Beni and Ilan, his daughter Anat,
grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
Padani was buried on Thursday at
the Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv. Padani galleries throughout the country
were closed for two hours both as a mark of respect and to enable staff to
attend the funeral.