Ira G. Marks, helped create Whitehall Co. jewelers, the family dynasty that made fashion-forward jewelry, watches and diamonds available for the common man.
The transition was made by GIs returning from World War II, who, along with buying houses and getting educations, also found a fascination in buying diamond rings, quality watches and fashion necklaces.
Mr. Marks established Whitehall Co. to capitalize on that. The family business, Marks Brothers Jewelers, grew from a chain of seven Chicago stores to more than 150 shops under the Whitehall name in regional malls nationwide.
Marks Brothers stores were among the first to employ African-Americans and women, in part because of his personal views, and Mr. Marks remained loyal to his friends and employees.
Whitehall Company Jewelers, Inc. is a leading American specialty retailer of fine jewelry, primarily gold and diamonds, which owns and operates Whitehall Company Jewelers, Lundstrom Jewelers, and Marks Brothers Jewelers.