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Fine Jewelry Industry Icon Death

She’s the owner of Cardel Jewelers Inc.




Fine Jewelry Industry Icon Death

Nilda Zulueta

(PRESS RELEASE) Nilda Zulueta, owner of Cardel Jewelers Inc., an award winning and nationally acclaimed fine jewelry manufacturing company located in the heart of the NYC fine jewelry district, passed away on July 18, 2021.

For over 35 years, Cardel has been one of a handful of preeminent fine jewelry companies providing the highest quality manufacturing dedicated to the art of fine jewelry making. Her company produced jewelry for celebrated award-winning designers, select clientele, elite jewelry lines and iconic retailers including Tiffany’s, Harry Winston and others.

Cardel’s unique legacy was featured in a PBS network documentary highlighting the remarkable high-quality fine jewelry pieces they have created with an unstinting dedication to making each piece the best it can be.

Nilda is a true fine jewelry industry icon and a pioneer, being one of the only women in the 80’s to succeed in a male-dominated field. She began working in the jewelry manufacturing business working her way up from a secretarial position to starting and building her own esteemed and successful company. Her strong character, ambition, determination, knowledge, honesty, kindness, and selflessness were unsurpassed, as was her fierceness, drive for excellence, passion, generosity, humor and independent spirit.

For a magazine publication many years ago, she said” I believe that with good self-esteem, proper education, and management abilities, women can join the male mainstream that currently leads this country. Women are a strong and resourceful species who have struggled against insurmountable obstacles to succeed. I believe that with the right channeling and support, we can achieve our potential” She would joke that if she had accomplished and said what she did in these current days and times, she would be canonized as a saint.” She had great candor!


Nilda believed that jewelry was an ancient craft and part of the history of humanity, one that was revered, respected, and continued, no matter how values and fashion changed.

She conducted her business with a sense of open-mindedness that allowed creative ideas and individuality to flow freely with her clients. While at the forefront of modern technology to achieve things not possible in years past, Cardel maintained an artisanal approach that respected the most beautiful elements of the craft, contemporary in its form but traditional in its approach.

Cardel created unique pieces that are heirlooms for future generations to cherish forever.

As a family business, Cardel Jewelers has handed down an uncompromising work ethic and an unerring commitment to quality from one generation to the next. Nilda worked closely with her children Adlin and Alex in maintaining a quality level that is remarkable and unsurpassed. Their team was composed of perfectionists devoted to their craft, and each possessed a specific mastery of custom jewelry manufacturing. Their New York City location in the legendary fine jewelry district on West 47th Street in Midtown Manhattan gave them immediate access to the world’s best stones and metals so that their pieces had a quality that was unlike any others.

Speaking as a jewelry designer, it is critically important to have a mutual vision, to co-create with your manufacturer to interpret your designs and create them into beautiful pieces of jewelry to wear and enjoy. Since 1991 Cardel has been the manufacturer of my fine jewelry collections.

Nilda’s attention to detail and love of her craft was a rare and beautiful gift she shared with the world. Nilda once said “One of the true delights in my life is creating and bringing to life a beautiful design and constructing the piece to transcend expectations”


Nilda was not only my contractor, collaborator, and mentor, but also a cherished friend that I will hold in my heart forever. — JoAnne Mulhall

Nilda is survived by her husband Hector, children Alex and Adlin, and many beautiful grandchildren.

A Memorial Mass service was held July 23, 2021, in North Bergen, New Jersey



She Wanted to Spend More Time with Her Kids. She Called Wilkerson.

Your children are precious. More precious than gold? Absolutely! Just ask Lesley Ann Davis, owner of Lesley Ann Jewels, an independent jewelry store that — until the end of 2023 — had quite a following in Houston, Texas. To spend more time with her four sons, all in high school, she decided to close her store. Luckily, she was familiar with Wilkerson and called them as soon as she knew she wanted to move on to bigger, better and more family-focused things. Was she happy with her decision? Yes, she was. Says Davis, “Any owner looking to make that life change, looking to retire, looking to close, looking for a pause in their career, I would recommend Wilkerson. Hands down!”

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