Famed jeweler killed in Forest Hills hit and run: NYPD

By Tom Momberg

A Queens man and renowned jeweler to several national celebrities, Aron Aranbayev, 40, died at Jamaica Hospital Monday from injuries he sustained when he was struck by a vehicle the night before, police said.

Aranbayev, also known as Eric, was on 71st Avenue near 110th Street, outside his Forest Hills home, when he was hit by a dark-colored Dodge Magnum in a hit-and-run, inflicting severe head trauma, which police determined in their investigation.

The incident came after the unidentified driver got out of his car and began yelling at Aranbayev, and after a verbal joust got back into his vehicle, backed up, and rammed forward into the famed jeweler, WCBS reported.

The NYPD has since reclassified the vehicular assault on a pedestrian as a vehicular homicide. No arrests had been made as of Wednesday afternoon and the investigation was still ongoing, police said.

Aranbayev is survived by his wife and four children, one of them a newborn. He was co-owner of a high-end Diamond District jewelry store called Rafaello and Co., 22 West 47th St., in Manhattan.

Some of the store’s celebrity clients included Floyd Maryweather; Sean Combs or “P. Diddy,” Alicia Keys; and Jamie Foxx, according to its website.

The store was started four years ago by Aranbayev’s father, Rafael Aranbayev, as well as his cousin, Gabriel Jacobs, who were in the business for over two decades, according to the store’s website.

The family immigrated in 1985 after being set free from Communist Russia and began working in wholesale jewelry sales, according to the company biography.

~Tom Momberg