Carats for Lunch:
Nonchalant Speaker Brings Million Dollar Gem Display Via Bus

The Newark Evening News, February 8, 1957

1957-02-08 Speaker Brings Million Dollar Gem Display Via Bus


A man with a million dollars worth of jewels in a brown attache case boarded a bus at noon yesterday at Central Ave. and Sanford St., East Orange, rode for 10 minutes, and got off at Main and Cleveland Sts., Orange.

He walked unaccompanied one block to the Savoy-Plaza Restaurant and joined a group of diners gathered for the weekly Orange-West Orange Optimist Club meeting.

With cut and uncut diamonds arrayed on a table along with semiprecious mountings, he took his seat at the opposite end of the room and had lunch. The only precaution, taken by a nervous restaurant proprietor, was the presence outside, at the bar, of Lt. Richard A. Savage, an Orange police detective.

Apparent Unconcern

The man with this apparent unconcern for a fortune was George H. FitzGerald, manager of the East Orange Wiss, Inc. jewelry store. He spoke at the Optimist meeting on the topic, "Fascinating Facts about Gems."

FitzGerald refused to give the exact value of his gems. He said it would be undignified and perhaps a little risky. The club, however, had circularized the million-dollar figure in its bulletin.

One set of diamonds, mounted in a wood case under glass and small enough to slip casually into a pocket, was Jerome B. Wiss' collection of natural color gems. FitzGerald said in his talk that they had taken a lifetime to assemble.

After the luncheon meeting he packed his case and set out for the bus stop.

But one of the Optimists insisted on driving him back to his store.