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Cheng Yu-tung
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Jewellery heavyweights make rich list

Several big names of the jewellery industry have made the annual Forbes rankings of the world’s billionaires.
The list, by business news outlet Forbes, ranks billionaires according to their estimated net worth.

A number of jewellery and diamond industry heavyweights made the list released last week.

Leading the pack at number 106 was Chinese businessman Cheng Yu-tung, owner of Chinese jeweller Chow Tai Fook.

Coming from a poor family, Cheng joined Chow Tai Fook as a trainee at the age of 15 in 1940. In 1943 he married the daughter of the company’s founder, eventually inheriting the jewellery business in 1956. He has since expanded his fortune through real estate. Forbes estimates the 84-year-old’s net worth at $6.8 billion.

Chow Tai Fook was recently in the news for paying a record price for a rough diamond.

Ranked 154 was Nicky Oppenheimer, heir to the De Beers empire. Forbes estimates the 64-year old South African’s fortune to be $5 billion, despite sales of De Beers diamonds dropping 44% last year.

Diamond jewellery retailer Laurence Graff came in at 374 with a net worth of $2.5 billion. Graff specialises in high-end jewellery retailing, with 31 stores worldwide. His company, Graff Diamonds International, boasts clients including the Sultan and Queen of Brunei, and Donald Trump.

Number 488 was Beny Steinmetz, chairman of the Steinmetz Diamond Group, which he inherited from his father. The company is De Beers’ largest buyer of rough diamonds. Steinmetz has an estimated net worth of $2 billion.

Diamond cutter and polisher Lev Leviev was ranked 655 with a net worth of $1.5 billion, although his company is reportedly struggling from the effects of the economic downturn.

Ranked 880 was investor Nelson Peltz, who has large holdings in Tiffany & Co, which recently announced plans to expand Australian operations.

Topping the Forbes list this year was Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, with a net worth of $53.5 billion. He narrowly beat Microsoft founder and last year’s number one Bill Gates, who is worth $53 billion.

Visit the image gallery to see all of the jewellery industry's billionaires.

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Monday, 13 July, 2020 05:58pm
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