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Trade Mourns Death of Leo Schachter

May 12, 2019 10:19 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Leo Schachter, whose famed international diamond company has borne his name for almost 70 years, died last Thursday at the age of 95.

Schachter launched Beck and Schachter Company on New York’s 47th Street in 1952, having learned the trade from his father, Max. The firm became a De Beers sightholder in 1966, and expanded beyond the US to Israel, Africa and the Far East.

It remained a family business, with many of Schachter’s five daughters and five sons-in-law becoming involved. The company moved its main sales and distributions to Tel Aviv in 1982, and in 1984 opened a cutting factory in Botswana. In 2016, the firm — now simply called Leo Schachter — joined Alrosa’s contract-sales program.

He was active in the Jewish community, and ardently supported Zionist causes, Jewish education, and charities, his company said in a statement. He cherished his relationships with three generations of offspring, and when asked how many grandchildren and great-grandchildren he had, he would invariably reply, “Not enough!”

Schachter and his wife, Shirley, had a home in Jerusalem for many years, dividing their time between Israel and the US, as they had family members living in both countries, the statement noted.

“His rare combination of dignity, modesty and generosity serves as an inspiration for his family and friends and as a guiding light for the company that he founded and built,” the company added.

“[Schachter] looked you straight in the eye, didn’t say that much, but quietly knew everything,” said Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group. “He was straight and his advice, soft-spoken, was honest and good. He was generous with his wisdom. Someone you could look up to. I liked him and he liked me. Leo’s passing represents the end of a generation of great diamantaires.”

Schachter was an “icon of the diamond industry” and a longtime member of the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers of America (DMIA), added Ronnie VanderLinden, the DMIA’s president, in a statement.

Schachter died at his home in Lawrence, New York. He is survived by his wife, as well as his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His funeral took place in Ra’anana, Israel, on Sunday.

This article was updated on May 13 to add further details.

Image: Leo Schachter. (Leo Schachter)
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Tags: 47th Street, Beck and Schachter Company, Diamond Manufacturers & Importers of America, DMIA, Leo Schachter, Martin Rapaport, new york, Rapaport Group, Rapaport News, Ronnie VanderLinden, Tel Aviv
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