Hans Stern (October 1, 1922 – October 26, 2007) was a Brazilian jeweler and businessman. He was dubbed the "king of the colored gems" by the New York Times and acclaimed by the international media.
Born in Essen, Germany, on October 1, 1922, Stern immigrated from Germany to Brazil at outbreak of World War II. Hans arrived in Brazil as a Jewish German immigrant when he was just 17 years old.
Stern started his career in the gemstone industry when he began working the Rio de Janeiro-based company, Cristab, which exports precious stones and minerals from Brazil. Stern traveled to Minas Gerais state as part of his job, where he came to know the local miners. He also became familiarized with many of the precious stones that were mined in the area, including topazes, tourmalines and amethysts. He became fascinated by the vibrant gems of Brazil and decided to promote them internationally, targeting foreign travellers. In doing so, he gave birth to a new industry.
Stern founded his company, H. Stern, in 1945, in order to market Brazilian gems. There was no real market for Brazilian gemstones at the time. His company would eventually grow into a multinational jewellery empire. Stern and his company trained a large number of young Brazilian jewelers as H. Stern gained customers and market credibility. His work propelled the Brazilian jeweler industry up to international standards.. Stern was also the first to create a worldwide warranty certificate, and to offer tours of his workshops to present the creative and production process with integrity and transparency. One of his main goals in life was achieved when important international gemological institutes revised the old "semi-precious" definition of colored stones and began referring to them since as "precious colored stones". Stern coined the phrase, "There is no semi-precious stone as there is no semi-pregnant woman or semi-honest man".
Stern's company, H. Stern, grew into a retail chain of more than 160 stores throughout the world. The first international boutiques appeared in Frankfurt, Lisbon and New York in the 1970s. For many decades the company focused its creations on Hans' beloved colored gems, although Stern also won several Diamonds International Awards and other prizes for avant garde diamond designs.
Stern's favorite gemstone was the tourmaline, a stone which is commonly found throughout Minas Gerais.
Hans Stern died on October 26, 2007, in Rio de Janeiro at age 85. Stern had been hospitalized for days before his death.He was survived by his wife, Ruth, whom he married in 1958. Together the couple had four sons - Roberto, Ricardo, Ronaldo and Rafael.