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Although Helzberg was started by Morris Helzberg, the interesting story is that of his son Barnett, who took control of the company at a very young age and with great marketing talent turned a single store into a very successful enterprise. Barnett Helzberg was born in Kansas City, Missouri on December 21, 1902 to Morris Helzberg, a Russian immigrant, and Lena Cohen, originally from New York. Barnett was the youngest of four children and at elementary school, one of his classmates was Walt Disney. Two young boys, full of drive to succeed that during those days had not known how far they would go.

In March this year, we looked at the one item that posted the greatest price appreciation in the first quarter of the year, thirds (0.30-0.39-carats). With the price fluctuations of polished diamonds in recent months, it is worth examining what happened to this item in the second quarter of the year.

Born in Montreal, Canada on November 30, 1840 to John Birks and Anne Massey, Henry Birks was one of ten children, a busy household no doubt. His parents were English immigrants from Yorkshire, England that moved to Canada in 1832. Henry’s father was a pharmacist in what was then a city of just 30,000 people. Life was not easy in the cold and remote city and two of Henry’s brothers suffered from cholera and died on the same day.

Prices of polished diamonds were mixed in June, reflecting a combination of clashing trends. On the one hand, there was good demand for many diamond categories since the JCK Las Vegas trade show, shortages, and rising rough diamond prices. On the other hand, quite a few diamond categories were in lower demand, and traders in the diamond trading centers are already in “summer mode”, seeking to decrease inventories and close as many transactions as possible before the summer vacations. 

Last week we told the story of Seretse Khama, the first president of Botswana and the man that transformed one of the poorest countries in the world into an oasis by carefully and skillfully utilizing diamond deposits to develop his country. President Khama could not have done this without the man who found the diamonds in Botswana, namely De Beers geologist, Dr. Gavin “Doc” Lamont.


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