Hans Stern

Hans Stern

Brazilian jeweler and entrepreneur originally from Germany
Date of Birth: 01.10.1922
Country: Brazil

  1. Biography of Hans Stern
  2. Early Life and Immigration
  3. Establishing H. Stern
  4. Innovations and Success
  5. Legacy

Biography of Hans Stern

Hans Stern, a Brazilian jeweler and entrepreneur originally from Germany, was hailed by the New York Times as the "King of Gemstones" or the "King of Colored Precious Stones." He gained wide recognition from international media outlets. Stern was overjoyed when gemological institutes discontinued the use of the term "semiprecious" for colored gemstones, as he always believed that the word carried no meaningful significance. His favorite gemstone was tourmaline.

Hans Stern

Early Life and Immigration

Hans Stern was born on October 1, 1922, in Essen, Germany. He immigrated to Brazil at the age of 17, at the beginning of World War II. In Brazil, Stern lived as a German-Jewish immigrant. His career in the processing and sale of precious gemstones took off when he started working for the company "Cristab" in Rio de Janeiro. This company specialized in exporting gemstones and minerals from Brazil. During one of his business trips to the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, Stern became acquainted with the local miners. He also developed a fondness for many gemstones found in the region, including topaz, tourmaline, and amethyst.

Hans Stern

Establishing H. Stern

Enchanted by the vibrant gems of Brazil, Hans Stern decided to introduce his newfound "friends" to the international market, targeting foreign tourists as the main buyers. Whether consciously or not, Stern revolutionized the industry. In 1945, he founded his own company, H. Stern, with the goal of promoting Brazilian gemstones. At that time, there was no official market for precious metals and gemstones. Gradually, his company grew into a multinational jewelry empire. Stern and his team trained new Brazilian jewelers, while expanding their clientele and solidifying their market independence. The promotion of the Brazilian jewelry industry under Stern's guidance strictly adhered to international standards.

Innovations and Success

Stern was the first to establish an international system of certification, guaranteeing the authenticity and quality of gemstones. He also pioneered guided tours of his workshops to make the creative and production processes more transparent. One of his lifelong goals was achieved when international gemological institutes revised the outdated term "semiprecious" for colored gemstones and approved the use of the expression "precious colored gemstones." It was Stern who coined the phrase: "There is no such thing as a semiprecious stone, just as there is no such thing as a half-pregnant woman or a half-honest person."


H. Stern transformed into a powerful retail network, with more than 160 stores worldwide. The first international boutiques opened in Frankfurt, Lisbon, and New York in the 1970s. For decades, the company produced its art pieces using Stern's beloved colored gemstones. However, among the many honors received by H. Stern, there are several jewelry "Oscars," Diamonds International Awards, and other prizes for complex avant-garde diamond designs.

Hans Stern passed away on October 26, 2007, at the age of 86, in Rio de Janeiro. He spent his final days in the hospital. He left behind his wife Ruth, who had been his partner since 1958. The couple had four sons - Roberto, Ricardo, Ronaldo, and Rafael. Stern's most cherished gemstone, tourmaline, remains widely found throughout the state of Minas Gerais.