Jacob Banda, president of the The Diamond Dealers Club died on Friday at age 62. Banda served as DDC President for nine years.
He was born in Israel in 1947 and moved to the United States at age 17. Following in his father’s footsteps, he got his start in the industry as a diamond cutter. He eventually would develop his career as a diamond trader, becoming a specialist in fancy colored diamonds.
Banda was a member of the DDC for more than 30 years and was first elected as president in 2000. He oversaw a technological revolution with the launch of the diamond exchange’s online presence, and consequently a greatly expanded club membership, with the acceptance of hundreds of "e-members," who participate in the DDC’s Internet-based diamond trading system.
Banda was first elected a member of the Executive Committee of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses in 2000. At the WFDB, he devoted a great deal of time to advancing the issue of consumer confidence, particularly to forging a common approach among the gem labs to subjects such as treatment and synthetics. He headed the special WFDB sub-committee devoted to formulating policy relating to HTHP treatments and synthetic diamonds. Banda was also an active member of the World Diamond Council.
"With the passing of Jacob Banda, the Diamond Dealers Club in particular and the diamond community in general has lost one its most dedicated public servants," said Moshe Mosbacher in a statement, "We are all poorer for it. Above all, Jacob was an advocate for the DDC membership, and a man who instinctively understood the point of view of the individual. Our hearts go out to his family at this difficult time."
WFDB President Avi Paz said in a statement that Banda was "well-known and respected throughout the diamond world" and his death was "a great shock to the world community".
Banda is survived by his wife, Goldie, 10 children and some 40 grandchildren. His funeral took place on Saturday, October 17th in Kiryas Joel, NY where he lived.
The World Jewellery Confederation also expressed its sorrow at the death of Jacob Banda in statement Tuesday.
"He was a highly professional and experienced member of the world diamond community, and always wanted to know what was happening in the jewellery pipeline and in CIBJO," CIBJO president Gaetano Cavalieri said in the statement.