In the diamond industry, Harry F. Oppenheimer is known as the former head of De Beers and the man who controlled the global diamond industry for decades. However that description does not do him justice. Taking controll of great gold and platinum assets, and was a South African parliamentarian who fought the country's apartheid rule.
Two men were behind the establishment of the De Beers, Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato. Barnato was born to a Jewish family in the East End of London in 1851 or 1852 as Barnett Isaacs. The future diamond magnet was born to a poor family and had a very unpromising beginning. His mother Leah died a year after he was born, and his older sister raised him and his two other siblings. His father, Isaac, was a shopkeeper who sold secondhand clothes. The family's poor financial situation forced the child to leave school early and help support the family by working at his father's shop as well as other odd jobs. Another way to support his family was to perform as an entertainer.
Abraham 'Bram' Fischler was honored numerous times throughout his life for his many achievements, but more than anything, he should be credited for his pivotal role in establishing the Kimberly Process, a United Nations backed effort to limit trade in rough diamonds to countries that adhere to strict controls and by doing so to prevent diamonds from being used to help finance civil wars.
Maximilian I and Mary of Burgundy were not diamond people in any way. They were not geologists who found diamond resources. They were not diamond mining magnates who built huge conglomerates; they were not jewelers who set their creations with diamonds, and they clearly were not diamond traders renowned for their quick thinking. Yet this 15th century royal couple had a significant impact on the diamond industry, playing a pivotal, arguably even a crucial role in the development of diamonds in modern culture.
No single name is more closely associated with the Israeli diamond industry than that of Moshe Schnitzer. Born in in Romania in 1921, Schnitzer moved to what was then Mandatory Palestine in 1934 to study history and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Richard T. Liddicoat, Jr. is commonly known in the diamond industry as the Father of Modern Gemology. He created and defined the modern diamond color scale D-Z, established many of the diamond grading standards used today, and introduced many diamond testing innovations.
Each year, the Hugo Dummett Diamond Award is given to a person or persons who have made a significant contribution to diamond exploration, discovery, or mine development. Hugo Dummett, the man after whom the award was named, is a legend in the diamond exploration industry, despite the fact that most people outside the world of geology have likely never heard of him. Dummett has been aptly described as "the brains, the ideas and the energy" behind the discovery of the Ekati diamond mine in Canada. He is also largely responsible for bringing mining powerhouse BHP Billiton into the diamond industry.
If you work in the diamond industry and know the name Monty Charles, you are dating yourself for a younger generation who has likely never heard of him. However Ernest "Monty" Charles was one of the principal architects of the modern diamond industry and the Sight system created by De Beers. He commanded the power within De Beers to decide which diamond parcels went to which clients, as well as who was on or off the Sightholder list. With De Beers controlling over 80% of the market at the time, and with Monty Charles in charge of both the buying and selling operations of De Beers, he was almost a monopoly in and of himself.
The Asscher family is one of a handful of diamond dynasties that have made an indelible mark on the diamond industry. The company bearing their name has been working in diamonds for over 150 years and is still run by the descendants of its founder. The Asschers have been responsible for cutting some of the most famous diamonds in history and, more recently, have been at the leading edge of design and development in diamond manufacturing and design.
Most people accept that Ian Fleming named the villain in his 1964 James Bond novel after architect Erno Goldfinger, who lived down the street from Fleming. However, a devout few still believe that Goldfinger was actually the product of Fleming's chance encounter with legendary diamantaire, Joseph Goldfinger, whom he met on a fact-finding trip to Charterhouse St. Joseph Goldfinger would later become known as "Mr. Diamond," and may credit him with putting the Israeli diamond industry on the map.