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Tuesday, Dec 5, 2023

OC Insider: Rare Stones & Jewels

Rup Shah says it’s a myth that Italy has the world’s best marble.

“Everyone wants Italian marble. It tells you one thing—the Italians are good at marketing,” Shah told our Peter J. Brennan during an interview at MS International’s headquarters in Orange.

While many countries like the U.S. and China have beautiful as well as less attractive granite as does Italy, most quarries are in India and Brazil.

“You cannot really generalize. You’ll find beautiful deposits everywhere,” he said.

His father, Manu Shah, an immigrant from India, has a miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty at the company’s headquarters in Orange.

“I fell in love with New York City and the Statue of Liberty,” said the elder Shah, who retired from MSI in January, turning over the reins to his sons Rup and Raj.

“I decided to recreate my dream. To me, it’s the true story of America.”

For more on MSI, a winner of the Business Journal’s Family-Owned Business Awards in 2010, see the front page. And for the latest group of award winners, see the profiles through this edition.

Gary and Julie Crisp, whose Crisp Imaging is one of this year’s Family-Owned Business Award winners, annually hosts a Super Bowl party for current and prior military members and their families.

The 2023 edition, held at the American Legion post in Newport Beach’s Balboa Peninsula, included 500 Marines and veterans, alongside the USC Marching Band and professional football cheerleaders.

Check your email for the Evite: Gary Crisp says he’s got “a good party planned” when he turns 65 in the coming weeks. See page 6 for more on Crisp Imaging.

Whittier Trust EVP Greg Custer knows a thing or two about large parties; the Newport Beach resident and manager for the private wealth manager’s OC office has long served on the organizing committee for the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena.

A smaller gathering took place last week at the Mikimoto store at South Coast Plaza; among the collections­ of pearls and other luxe jewelry shown off at the store was the official crown worn each year by the Tournament of Roses Queen.

Designed by Mikimoto and with over 600 pearls and 6 karats of diamonds, its reported value is around $400,000.

No word if PE exec Murray Rudin, a frequent host of the Business Journal’s annual CFO of the Year Awards and an attendee at the Whittier-hosted event, made a bid for the crown.

Each year’s queen is selected from students in the Pasadena area, so OC residents aren’t eligible, but Custer estimates that there’s more former tournament queens living in Newport Beach than anywhere else.

Pacific Life CEO Darryl Button’s made some streamlining moves and divestitures for the life insurance giant, but he’s keeping one iconic part of the company: its logo of a humpback whale jumping out of the water.

“We’re pretty committed to maintaining the whale,” Button told Peter J. Brennan. “It lines up well with our Pacific brand. We continue to market heavily.”

Among other marketing deals, in February, it signed a five-year deal to be “the official Life Insurance Sponsor of the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions.” See page 1 for more on PacLife, and next week’s edition for more on one notable local divestiture.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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