Mafatlal Mehta Dies

The Indian diamond community is mourning the death of Mafatlal Mehta, who died shortly before his 88th birthday.

Mehta was born in 1917 and joined the family business in his teens. “My father died when I was five,” he said later. “I had little education, and all I knew was diamonds.”

In 1955 he formed his own company. He later formed Jayam in Antwerp, which became a De Beers sightholder. In 1975, the company opened in New York under the name Paras Diamonds. In the 1990s, the New York Diamond Dealers Club gave Mehta a Lifetime Achievement Award. In later years, Mehta gave generously to charity and was a close associate of the late Mother Teresa, who made him head of the Mother Teresa Belgian Charitable Trust.

In a 1989 profile in JCK, Mehta discussed the importance of top-notch conditions for his workers. “Workers who do not have hygienic and safe working conditions will not feel good about their work and will not produce,” he said.