Revealed: the world’s richest diamond owners

While demand is increasing in China and India, three owners from the Middle East make the list
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The world’s only “flawless” 100 carat diamond was recently sold to jeweller Harry Winston for a record of $27 million.\nWealthX.com has revealed that demand for rough diamonds from countries like China and India has caused diamond prices to increase by a third since 2005, and is predicted to rise by another 20 percent through 2017.
\nThe wealth research company similarly stated that the world’s richest diamond owners consist not only of collectors and dealers, but of business owners and investors who have capitalised on the world’s largest diamond mines.
\nThree of the richest diamond owners were from Middle Eastern origin.
\nHere is a list the world’s top 10 richest diamond owners, according to Wealth X.
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1. Cheng Yu-tung, 87
\nNet worth: $19.6 billion
\nCheng Yu-tung is the only Asian and oldest diamond owner on our list.
\nHe’s the honorary chairman of the world’s biggest jewellery retailer Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group. His $19.6 billion net worth is triple that of competitor Beny Steinmetz.
\nThough the tycoon now has 1,800 jewellery and watch stores across China, he also has business investments in real estate, retail, hospitality, and infrastructure.
\nIn 2010, he set a world record by paying $35.3 million for a 507-carat Cullinan Heritage diamond; the highest price paid for a rough diamond. Market watchers had expected the diamond to sell for $25 million.
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2. Beny Steinmetz, 57 years old
\nNet worth: $5.8 billion
\nThough Steinmetz inherited the Geneva based Steinmetz Diamond Group from his father, he also founded the Beny Steinmetz Resource Group (BSR Group). His group owns the Octea Diamond Group, which is known to have mined 10 million carats of diamonds from the Koidu mine in Sierra Leone.
\nThe Steinmetz Diamond Group crafted some of the world’s most famous diamonds, including the 203.04 carat pear shaped De Beers Millennium Star, which took a total of three years to cut. Another one is the Steinmetz Pink, which is a 59.6 carat pink diamond, worth $100 million.
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3. Dan Gertler, 39
\nNet worth: $2.6 billion
\nThe youngest on the list, Gertler made his wealth by investing in diamond and copper mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC).
\nHe is the founder and president of the Dan Gertler International Group (DGI), though he also heads his family’s registered business, the Fleurette Group.\nOn the other hand, Gertler has been accused of somehow benefitting corrupt Congolese government officials. In December of last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stopped a $240 million loan to Congo, because it failed to issue mining contracts to a company linked to Gertler.
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4. Laurence Graff (Right), 75
\nNet worth: $2.1 billion
\nThe founder of Graff Diamonds, which is known for its giant and rare gems, had humble beginnings. He started as a jewellery apprentice at the age of 15.
\nAfter failing to succeed at other jewellery stores, he began designing and selling his own designs independently. He then created the Graff brand, which has 35 shops worldwide.
\nGraff has owned some of the world’s most famous diamonds, like the rare Graff Pink diamond, which is 24.78 carats, and the Lesotho Promise diamond, which is 603 carats.
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5. Anne-Marie Graff, 75
\nNet worth: $2.1 billion
\nThe wife of Laurence Graff, Marie Graff is also a shareholder in his company Graff Diamonds.
\nThe couple have been married for over 47 years despite rumours that Laurence Graff had fathered a child with a former employee who’s 34 years younger than him.
\nLast year, it was revealed that the duo held a combined total of 645 million shares in their company.
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6. Georges Nicolas Hayek Jr., 58
\nNet worth: $1.7 billion
\nGeorges Nicolas Hayek Jr. is the son of Swatch Group’s co-founder Lebanese Nicolas George Hayek.
\nHe is the CEO of the same Group, which in January bought Canadian jewellery firm Harry Winston.
\nThrough buying the Winston name, Hayek acquired the “flawless” 100 carat diamond, which recently sold for $26.7 million.
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7. Lev Leviev, 57
\nNet worth: $1.4 billion
\nThe business tycoon attained his fortune from trading and mining diamonds in Russia and African countries.
\nLast year, Leviev made headlines when he entered in a court battle with his one-time partner Arkady Gaydamak. Gaydamak was seeking unpaid commissions from mines in Angola, where Leviev has assets.
\nThe unpaid commissions were allegedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
\nIn addition to his jewellery business, Leviev has investments real estate, tourism, and construction.
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8. Fred Mouawad, 44
\nNet worth: $1.1 billion
\nThe second Lebanese entry on the list, Fred Mouawad is one of the three co-guardians of the Geneva-based family jewellery business Mouawad.
\nThough Mouawad heads the diamond division of the company, he has also founded the Syneria One Group, which is involved in diverse industries like jewellery retailing and food outlets.
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9. Jorg Bucherer, 77
\nNet worth: $1.1 billion
\nNumber 9 on our list is the chairman Bucherer Group, the Swiss family run jewellery business.
\nSome of the company’s most famous diamond pieces include the Valse Des Cristaux, a necklace, pendent and earring set that has more than 36 carats of diamonds, the Nature en Eveil necklace, which has 24.79 carats of diamonds, and the Reine Blanche necklace, which is 44.97 carats of diamonds.
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10. Robert Fayez Mouawad
\nNet worth: $1 billion
\nLast on the list is Robert Mouawed, who bought a 101.84 carat diamond at Sotheby’s in 1990 for $12.76 million.
\nThe 11-sided mixed cut diamond was known as “the Mouawad Splendor,” and was the world’s most expensive single pear-shaped diamond at that time.
\nPart of the Lebanese Mouawad family, the business tycoon was the president of his family’s firm, Mouawad. At the time, he expanded the business from Saudi Arabia to Europe, Asia and North America.
\nHis other famous diamond purchases include the 135.92 carat Queen of Holland diamond and the 68.09 carat Taylor Burton diamond, which was purchased for actress Elizabeth Taylor by her husband in 1969.
\nMouawad bought back the diamond in 1979 after it was sold to New York jeweller Henry Lambert.
Mon 04 May 2015 12:55 PM GST