There is a high demand for rough diamonds throughout the world, and the market for those found in India and China is on the increase. Prices for these valuable commodities has been on a steady rise since 2005 through today. Diamond owners have made tremendous profits and have amassed fortunes in the various divisions of the diamond industry. This includes people who are gem dealers, collectors and investors in the diamond mine business. There are multiple facets, no pun intended, in the mining industry from rough stones to cut and polished gems. From mine owners, corporate executives, investors and diamond connoisseurs, here are the 20 richest diamond owners in the world today.
20. Tokyo Sexwale – Net worth: $200 million
Sexwale was the South African housing minister for the country, who served under Jacob Zuma. He is a diamond mogul who served as stiff competition to the president and was a crusader for the anti-apartheid movement. He served a sentence along with political prisoner Nelson Mandela and was released in 1990. When Mandela came into power in 1994, Sexwale was named as premier of the Gauteng province. Although he was viewed as a possible successor to Nelson Mandela, he made the decision to leave politics and enter the business world, allowing the distinction to shift to Thabo Mbeki. Sexwale earned his fortune through investments in the diamond mining and oil industries. He received accolades from Harry Oppenheimer, who has done well for himself in the diamond industry, for his impressive collection of wealth which is $2 billion in rand and approximately $200 million in USD.
19. Alexander Pushkin – Net worth: $350 million
Aleander Pushkin is the owner of the second largest gem diamond that has ever been found in the country or Russia or throughout the region that was formerly known as the USSR. It is a 320.65 karat colorless diamond that was mined from the Udachnaya kimberlitic pipe in Yakutia, Russia. The rough stone was discovered in 1989. The stone was moved to the Russian Diamond Fund to the Kremlin in Moscow in 2016 for safe keeping. In addition to mining diamonds, Pushkin earned his fortune through work with the Gazprom natural gas corporation in Russia as one of its top ranking managers, which became one of the leading producers in the region, until Alexei Miller took over the help. It was at this point that Pushkin lost his job with the company and the business began losing the lucrative deals that spiraled its success.
18. Robert Fayez Mouawad – Net worth: $1 billion
Mouawad is a member of the wealthy Mouawad family and served as the president of his family’s firm for a period of time. He is responsible for instigating a rapid expansion of the business that extended from Saudi Arabia to North America, Asia and Europe. He was involved with investments in the diamond mining industry as well as in other ventures which helped to build the wealth of the family business, but he, himself, has amassed a net worth of $1 billion.
17. Jorg Bucherer – Net worth: $1.1 billion
Jorg Bucherer earned his fortune in his family run business with the company called the Bucherer Group. It is based in Switzerland. He is the owner of several fine examples of high quality diamonds. These include the Reine Blanche, which is a necklace that features 44.97 carats of brilliant diamonds, as well as other pieces including the Bvlgari crossover ring which is set with a fancy and vivid blue diamond of 3.72 carats and many others. Bucherer serves as the chairman of his family run jewelry business which has flourished over the years. leaving him with a personal net worth of $1.1 billion.
16. Fred Mouawad – Net worth: $1.1 billion
Fred Mouawad is also a member of the famously wealthy Mouawad family and is one member of the three co-guardians of the family’s jewelery business hat is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Th Mouawads are of Lebanese origin and together, the three brothers formed the jewelery and watch making company that has turned a healthy profit over the years. They are experts at buying and selling jewelery and they’ve worked in the purchase and resale of diamonds for several years. Apart from the wealth of is family, Fred Mouawad’s net worth is currently estimated at $1.1 billion.
15. Nirav Modi – Net worth: $1.2 billion
Nirav Modi is a 43 year old designer of diamond jewelry who made waves in the industry first in November of 2010. He sold one of his pieces at Christie’s auction for a tidy $3 million. It was a necklace that featured a Golconda diamond of a 12.29 carat weight, which was suspended from a pink diamond chain. He is the owner of the Firestar Diamond company which has manufacturing stations in South Africa, Armenia and Russia. His company has spread throughout the work and also owns the A. Jaffe bridal jewelry retail chain with stores in Bermuda, the Bahamas, the United States, Canada and the Netherlands-Antilles. He is also the primary and only jewelry supplier for all of the United States Armed Forces bases.
14. Lev Leviev – Net worth: $1.4 billion
Leviev is a diamond magnate who began his life as an immigrant from Uzbeistan, settling in Israel when he was just a teenager, along with his family. It was in Israel that he learned about the diamond industry and trade. He currently holds interests in diamond mining in Alaska, USA, Angola and in Russia. His is the owner of Leviev, which is a high end diamond boutique with locations in Singapore, Dubai, New York City and in London. This mass expansion has forged a significant niche in the jewelry business for Leviev as one of the premiere resources for fine high-end specialty pieces and it has gained a stellar reputation throughout the world.
13. Nicolas Hayek Jr. – Net worth $1.7 billion
Nicolas George Hayak Sr. co-founded the Swatch Group. Hayak Jr., is the son who became the CEO of the company that purchased the Harry Winston company which is a Canadian Jewelry firm. He is of Swiss and Lebanese origin and is known for his purchase of the Winston Legacy diamond, weighing 101.73 carats. The diamond sold for $26.7 million in May of 2013. Hayak Jr. amassed his personal fortune of $1.7 billion in the diamond industry as an investor and through his work with the company that also handled other gemstones, precious metals and fine high end jewelry.
12. Caroline Scheufele – Net worth: $2.1 billion
Caroline Scheufele serves as the co-president of jeweler Chopard, along with her husband Karl Scheufele. She is an expert in working with cut stone diamonds and has been successful in purchasing some fine examples for the family business. She admits that when it comes to assessing the value of rough stones, she isn’t the best fit because the two are totally different fields, requiring extensive knowledge, but she knows her diamonds and excels in her chosen profession in the finished stone portion of the industry. In 2016, she purchased the Queen of Kalahari which is a 342 carat diamond, which turned out to be an amazing investment, even though she isn’t an expert in rough stones. She directly oversaw each stage of the purchase and cutting of the stone, which is more in her realm of experience. Prior to obtaining the stone, she traveled to the mine where it was discovered to view it. She is a German born business woman who also serves as the Artistic Director of the Swiss based luxury watch and jewelry company, Chopard.
11. Anne-Marie Graff – Net worth: $2.1 billion
Anne-Marie Graff is an investor and shareholder in her husband, Laurence Graff’s company Graff Diamonds. She is living in the country of France at the age of 80 years. The family founded Graff Diamonds in 1960 and expanded to two retail shops within two years of opening. The company is an integrated diamond production and retail firm that operates through its retail division and its procurement and polishing division. The family owns a stake if Safdico, a South African diamond and polishing business, diamond works and wholesale firm. Anne is a firm believer in giving to charity. She and her husband formed the Graff Foundation which amassed a $6 million asset base and donates roughly $800,000 per year to projects that helps the children of Africa. Anne is listed separately from her husband because she has in her own right, been actively involved in the business.
10. Dan Gertler – Net worth: $2.6 billion
Dan Gertler is a diamond magnate that made his fortune by investing in copper and diamond mines. He chose locations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His country of origin is Israel, but he made friends with President Joseph Kabila of the DRC, who gave him permission to engage in investment activities in these industries. This created quite a controversy at the time. His purchase of mining projects from the Congolese government was not initially favored by the people. Gertler, who established the Fleurette Group, defended his actions by explaining how this would benefit the locals in the long run by creating job opportunities and bringing a host of new amenities into the area. This explanation was well received and the trouble that was stirred was quickly quelled as Gertler made good on his promises. It actually served as a beneficial move for the people who now had better opportunities to improve their standard of living.
9. Beny Steinmetz – Net worth: $ 4.1 billion
Beny Steinmetz made a fortune with his investments and business interests in the diamond industry. He’s a native of the country of Israel who inherited the Steinmetz Diamond Group, a Geneva based business, from his father., Robin Steinmetz. Upon this acquisition, he founded the Beny Steinmetz Resource Group which is the parent corporation of the Octea Diamond Group. The Steinmetz Diamond Group is the largest buyer from the famed retailer De Beer’s, purchasing rough diamonds fro the operation. It was the Steinmetz Diamond Group that was in charge of the cutting of the largest Vivid Pink diamond, called the Pink Star, that has been found in the world so far. In addition to his successes in the diamond business, Beny has also done remarkably well with his interest in real estate and engineering projects.
8. Laurence Graff – Net worth: $4.8 billion
Laurence is the founder of the family company Graff Diamonds. They specialize in rare gems and those of giant size. He began his career as an apprentice in the diamond business, learning what he needed to know to strike out on his own. He has served famous and very rich clients including the Sultan of Brunei and actress Eizabeth Taylor, just to name a few. He is the owner of the Wittelsback-Graff Diamond, which is a 31.06 carat example of fancy and intense deep blue coloring. He also owns the Graff Pink, which is a 24.78 carat type IIa pink diamond stone. His company focuses its attention on the elite an the rich throughout the globe with rare and valuable stones and it has gained international acclaim throughout the decades that it has been in existence.
7. David Kassel – Net worth: $6 billion
David Kassel is a a seasoned minor and is also an investor in the diamond industry who served as the chairman of the New Reclamation Group of South Africa. Kassel played a big part in the Chiadzwa diamonds story, working side by side with Robert Mhlanga who himself served as the face of Mbada, although was not himself a shareholder in the company. He had just brokered the deal prior to becoming the new chairman of the company. Kassel and his family were heavily involved in the diamond mining industry as well as other ventures which helped to build the family fortune. He kept his portfolio diversified which led to financial success in most areas of his business dealings.
Photo above is of Mhlanga
6. Nicky Oppenheimer – Net worth: $6.7 billion
Nicky Oppenhiemer is a name that is well known in South Africa. He and his family are the richest people in the country, and have been so for some time. Nicky has been placed as the 136th richest man in the world and he’s placed at the second richest in South Africa, coming in behind only Aliko Dangote of Nigeria. Oppenheimer is a businessman who has long been known as the chairman of the world famous De Beers Diamond company, which also owns the subsidiary, the Diamond Trading Company. Nicky progressed in his career, following in the footsteps of Harry Oppenheimer, his father, and his grandfather Ernest Oppenheimer, before him. It is where he amassed his tremendous fortune and it is a legacy that has continued for decades.
5. Christo Wiese – Net worth: $7.4 billion
Chirsto Wiese of Johannesburg, South Africa is one of the richest men in the country. He gathered together a consortium of fellow investors to take over the Trans Hex Group, which is a Cape Town based diamond mining operation. Two of the stakeholders, Metcap 14 Proprietary and Cream Magenta 140 Proprietary, which are backed by the Wiese family purchased a stake in the company that gives them 47 percent ownership and with other consortium member holdings, they will control roughly 72 percent of Trans Hex, with offers to minority stakeholders to buy them out. Wiese is definitely in the diamond business now. He earned his fortune as owner of Shoprite, which is the biggest retailer in the country. Wiese had the capital and influence that was needed to successfully acquire a nearly three quarters controlling interest in the Trans Hex company and his ultimate goal is for total control with the buyout proposals. He has plans to make investments into Trans Hex that will shore up any weaknesses to promote the operation to its full business potential in the near future.
4. Joseph Lau – Net worth: $15.3 billion
Joseph Lau is a Hong Kong billionaire who believes that there is nothing too good for his little girl. He recently made a purchase at a Sotheby’s auction and doled out an record bid and purchase on the Blue Moon diamond, which he snagged for $48.5 million. The doting dad renamed it the Blue Moon of Josephine, because he purchased the 12.03 carat diamond for his daughter Josephine. According to Sotheby’s staff, this purchase was the highest price per carat for a diamond that has ever been paid, topping the charts at more than four million per carat. This wasn’t the 64 yar old property tycoon’s first rodeo though. Just prior to purchasing the Blue Moom, he bought a 16.08 carat pink diamond a few days earlier for $28.5 million and it was also renamed, Sweet Josephine. The young lady is amassing quite a collection of valuable diamonds as in 2009, Lau is reported to have purchased a blue diamond that he paid $9.5 million for and he named that one the Star of Josephine. This dad is certainly dedicated to his daughter, and he’s secured her financial future by not only giving her rare and beautiful gems as gestures of his love and devotion, but each in itself is worth a fortune.
3. Cheng Yu-tung – Net worth: $19.6 billion
Cheng Yu-tung earned the distinction of becoming the owner of the Cullinan Heritage diamond in 2010. He bought the 507 carat stone for the price of $35.3 million, which is the most paid for a rough diamond in recorded history. Yu-tung serves as an honorary chairman of the Hong Kong based Chow Tai Fook Jewelery Group. It is the biggest jewelry retailer in the world. He is currently the third richest diamond owner in the world today. The billionaire amassed his fortune through an extensive and lifelong investment campaign into service businesses, hotels, property investment and development, transportation interests in Australia, the United States, Macau, Hong Kong and in other parts or the world as well as massive holdings in the jewelry retailing industry.
2. His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – Net Worth: $20 billion
The Prince is a national of Saudi Arabia who is also the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company. Although Prince Al Waleed is from the nation that is best known for its oil tycoons, he made his billions in other industries. He wisely invested in the real estate market and construction in his early ventures. After making a fortune in this arena, he turned his interest to investments in the banking industry where he earned high marks for bailing out Citicorp with a $590 million investment in the corporation. Being one of the richest men in the world, he can afford toys and luxuries that would boggle the minds of the average blue collar workers. He has an impressive car collection and for the thirty eighth vehicle purchase, he went all the way. Prince Al Waleed commissioned a very special Mercedes Benz that is fully encrusted with diamonds over the entirety of the outside of the vehicle. for more dimension, he ordered the addition of Swarovski crystals which give it even more pizzaz. Spectators are amazed when they behold the spectacle because there are diamonds on the logo, on the tailpipes, the door handles and even in the rims of the wheels. It has been reported that anyone who wants to touch his $48 million car has to pay thousands of dollars for the privilege. Does this qualify him as being a diamond owner? We think that it does.
1. Savji Dhanji Dholakia – Net worth: $38 billion
Savji Dhani Dholakia of India is the richest diamond owner in the world. The 56 year old founded the Hari Krishna Exports Pvt. Ltd. company which is a diamond manufacturing and exporting business. The company maintains manufacturing plants at Surat in Gujarat, India with its base there, and established their marketing and sales division in Mumbai, India. Savji is well known in the diamond industry and he’s gained worldwide fame through his dealings and business that exports diamonds in their finished state to over fifty countries in the world. The firm has also established affiliates in Hong Kong, China, the United Arab Emirates, Belgium and in the United States. Dholakia was born in Dudhala, Amreli, Guarat, India in 1962 to a farming family. He quit school when he was just 13 years old to work at the diamond business that his uncle owned in Surat. He’s had many years of experience in the business which has paid off handsomely, making him the richest diamond owner in the world.