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Stephen Varni
(1884-1940)

Stephen Varni was a well-known New York gem and mineral dealer. He was born in New York on March 13, 1884, the son of Italian immigrant parents Beatrice Isola and Joseph (Giuseppe) Varni, a laborer from Genoa. He listed himself as a "lapidary" on the 1910 census for Acquackanonk, New Jersey; and as a "precious stones wholesaler" on the 1920 Brooklyn census. He formed a gem company with Anthony Espositer and Salvatore Espositer called the "Expositer, Varni Company," and published A Guide for Gem Buyers in 1912 and 1914. He traveled to several countries in Europe in 1919 to purchase precious stones, and by 1936 had made 42 crossings of the Atantic on buying trips. He married Sadie Buschkes in 1905; his son,. Stephen Jr., was born in 1912 but appears to have died before 1930.

By 1920 Varni had separated from his partners and was president of the Varni Company. Varni was active in the Mineralogical Society of America, was a member of the Philadelphia Mineralogical Society and the Newark Mineral Club, and served as Vice President of the New York Mineralogical Society. He was well-known as a lecturer, frequently speaking at the meetings of scientific organizations and student groups. It was "his high ambition to inspire groups to hunt and dig and collect minerals for their own pleasure."

Stephen Varni died at the age of 56 on March 8, 1940, in an automobile accident. His widow, Sadie E. Varni continued operating the Varni Company for some years after his death.

Reference:
DAKE, H. C. (1936) Stephen Varni, New York City. The Mineralogist, 4 (10), 38-39.
DAKE, H. C. (1940) Stephen Varni. The Mineralogist, 8 (5), 243.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Stephen Varni Stephen Varni
(from The Mineralogist, October 1936)
The Mineralogical Record - Stephen Varni Ad from the September 1934 issue of Maine Minerals.
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