A Czechoslovakian immigrant named Frank Leber opens a jewelry store on the southwest side of Chicago. For 45 years, Leber Jeweler flourishes under his guidance, earning the loyalty of a devoted clientele in the West Village/Pilsen neighborhood.
Myron Leber takes over his father’s business and continues the emphasis on serving the community.
When their customer base spreads west to the Chicago suburbs, the Leber family follows, opening Leber Limited in La Grange Park, Illinois. Myron Leber continues to emphasize his father’s principles of honesty toward customers and thorough knowledge of gemstones and jewelry.
Brian Leber, Frank’s grandson, and his wife Joanne purchase the store when Myron retires. Leber Jeweler Inc opens in Western Springs, Illinois. The couple’s extensive training in art and design—as well as Brian’s experience as a bench jeweler and professional certification—allows them to continue Leber’s tradition of thorough technical knowledge and integrity.
Lifelong advocates for human rights and environmental issues, Joanne and Brian develop and launch Earthwise Jewelry®, the first collection of fine jewelry that is sourced, designed, and produced ethically.
Spurred by the desperate situation in Burma (Myanmar) and our industry’s historical reliance on this country’s gemstone resources, Leber Jeweler establishes the Jewelers’ Burma Relief Project. This humanitarian effort, in collaboration with Foundation for the People of Burma and Planet Care, offers aid directly to the people of Burma.
After years of advocacy efforts to introduce the issue on Capitol Hill, Brian Leber plays an integral role in the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act, legislation to ban the importation of ruby and jade funding the brutal military dictatorship in Burma. As part of his efforts, Brian testifies before the US Congress and works closely with the government throughout the legislative process.
Leber Jeweler moves to Chicago’s River North neighborhood west of the Magnificent Mile, a more convenient location for its growing clientele. Brian and Joanne continue working to improve and uphold ethical standards in the jewelry industry and raising public awareness. Through numerous published pieces and speaking engagements, Brian encourages other jewelers and their clients to embrace humanitarian and environmental concerns.
Continuing their work to raise attention to critical issues in Africa, Leber Jeweler Inc leads an effort to have Zimbabwe removed from the Kimberley Process because of widespread human rights abuses. Brian Leber also engages with lawmakers on the Conflict Minerals Trade Act, which will regulate the flow of illicit gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Simultaneously, Leber Jeweler Inc continues their multi-year effort on numerous developmental projects they have launched in several sub-Saharan African countries.
With media coverage highlighting the work of Brian Leber, including reports by 60 Minutes, National Public Radio, and Voice of America,Leber Jeweler Inc remains engaged in a number of critical gem and jewelry-related issues in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
Brian Leber and Leber Jeweler Inc expand advocacy efforts to cover topics including health concerns related to silicosis-striken gem cutters in India and China. In addition, work continues on issues like Burma’s gem sector, with ongoing advocacy in Washington DC and speaking engagements at policy institutions including the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Recognized on the floor of the United States Senate by Senator Dick Durbin for being at the forefront of socially conscious and eco-friendly fine jewelry in addition for our advocacy in support of laws related to the responsible sourcing of precious stones and metals.