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One of the most revered and popular jewelry brands was born out of unusual circumstances. Most of today’s leading diamond brands were formed either in Europe or the US. Even then, they were established in one of a very few cities – Paris, London or New York City. H.Stern, however, was formed in Brazil by a Jewish immigrant, who escaped Nazi Germany as teen right before World War II.

Polished diamond prices improved in February, inching up 0.08%, according to the Mercury Diamond Global Tracker™ (MDGT™). However the small overall rise actually hid a significant rise in prices of smaller goods, specifically thirds – round polished diamonds weighing 0.30-0.39 carats. Prices for this size range did not simply increase, they rose at a rate the diamond industry has not seen in some time. .

Last week, De Beers celebrated its 130th anniversary. Today, it is a group of companies that began with De Beers Consolidated Mines, currently the group’s South African mining arm. Two men were behind the establishment of the company, Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato.

January’s rising polished diamond prices continued into February on the back of awakening demand. Polished diamond prices had suffered from an extended period of declining prices since mid-2014. However, after improved retail sales in the US over the November-December holiday season, demand for polished diamonds improved, pulling up prices.

Unlike all other people mentioned in this series of articles, 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.


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