NEW YORK — Michael Horowitz has stepped down as president of Judith Jack, the jewelry company he acquired in 1996 and then sold to Jones Apparel Group in 2001.

No successor has been named.

"This is a decision I have been thinking about for a while," Horowitz said Friday. "I really enjoyed acquiring and building Judith Jack, and my objective now is to pursue a more entrepreneurial opportunity."

Horowitz had purchased Judith Jack along with a private investor group for a price tag estimated at $15 million to $20 million, and its annual sales now are believed to be between $20 million and $30 million.

Judith Jack is best known for its marcasite jewelry business. Horowitz is credited with taking the brand into more stores, stepping up the marketing and growing the business significantly, according to industry sources. The line has broad distribution and is sold in Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor, as well as in gift shops and some fine jewelry stores.

Judith Jack in the mid-Nineties expanded into handbags and other categories, but it now has gotten out of the leather goods business.

Prior to the Judith Jack acquisition, Horowitz was executive director of Krementz Jewelry, a fashion jewelry firm, and also worked at North American Watch, now known as Movado Group.

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