WFDB mourns death of Jacob Banda, President of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York

Antwerp, October 18, 2009 - The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) said it learned with great sorrow of the death on Friday night of Jacob Banda, president of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York since 2000. Banda, who was 62 and who won a second term as DDC president earlier this year, was appointed to the Executive Committee of the WFDB in 2000.

Born in Israel, Mr. Banda had lived in the United States since 1964. He began his career in the diamond industry as a diamond cutter, following in his father's footsteps.

"It is with very great sadness that we learned of his death," said WFDB President Avi Paz. "Mr. Banda was well known and respected throughout the diamond world. We knew that he had been ill for the past few months, but this nonetheless comes a great shock to the world community. We send our condolences and best wishes to his family," Paz added.

Since joining the Executive Committee of the WFDB, Mr. Banda had 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.

At the DDC, Mr. Banda 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.

Mr. Banda, who lived in Kiryas Joel, New York, is survived by his wife, 10 children and 40 grandchildren. His funeral took place late Saturday night.