Gem Expert Jules Sauer Dies

The onetime refugee helped promote Brazil’s gemstones

Jules Roger Sauer, the onetime refugee who built Brazil’s Amsterdam Sauer into an internationally recognized gemstone giant, died Feb. 1, according to a statement from the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA). He was 95.

Born in 1921 in France, Sauer—then a student in Belgium—fled the Nazis’ persecution of the Jews in 1939. Finding himself in Portugal, he embarked on a ship for South America and ended up in Rio de Janeiro, where he began teaching French. One of his students offered him a job in his brother’s gemstone business. Within two years, he was running his own company, Lapidação Amsterdam; later renamed Amsterdam Sauer, the jeweler was known for its delicate and innovative approach to cutting gemstones.

In 1963, Sauer discovered a Brazilian emerald mine and is given credit for internationally promoting Brazil’s gemstones, including imperial topaz, Brazilian opal, and Paraiba tourmaline. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the ICA in 2007.

Sauer is survived by daughter Debora, son Daniel, seven grandsons, and four great-grandchildren.

(Photo courtesy of the International Colored Gemstone Association)

JCK News Director


  • Henry F. Kennedy

    When I began to work for him, in 1974, he lent me his personal copy of “Gems” by Robert Webster so I could discover the world of gems and mining. Later he offered me the opportunity to be his buyer in Teofilo Otoni, MG. He was as passionate about art as he was about gemstones. The walls of the administration division were covered with the best of Modern Art: Picasso, Dali, including Brazilian artists such as Emiliano de Cavalcanti, Portinari, and Luiza Regina (my wife). One day I took 10 of her works to the office to sell to him and the whole place shut down. Everybody wanted to see her artwork which I leaned against the walls. He bought 8 and VP George Goldfarb bought 2. When he paid me he told me never to do that again. In the world of gem dealers, he was a masterpiece.