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.