Ipekdjian Brothers Diamond Merchants [????- ]

Submitted by lizchater on Fri, 06/04/2010 - 14:22

Ipekdjian Brothers Diamond Merchants Hong Kong 1920s

Hi all,  I wonder if anyone can help please.  I am told that there was a diamond merchants in Hong Kong in early 1920's called Ipekdjian Brothers, set up by Jean Baptiste Ipekdjian, he was Armenian.  He also set up a diamond merchant business in Penang in the late 1920's and I believe more successful there.  I am told he lived at 35 Barker Road. 

I have searched the online HK newspapers and cannot find any reference to him or the company, not an advert, any kind of reference or anything.  Also the HK public records office online don't seem to have anything either.

I'm looking for anything anyone can tell me, or tell me where I should be looking, to find out more about this Armenian diamond trader.  I would also like to know if he was at all associated with Tigran Matthews Gregory (another Armenian died in the 1960s) who was also a diamond merchant, and extremely successful.

Anything on either of these gentlemen and their diamond businesses would be greatly appreciated.




Photos of this organisation:


Hi Liz, it's a distinctive name - various combinations of his name and relevant terms turned up more info in Google Books. eg a search for 'Ipekdjian Bros.' shows:

  • Mihran Ipekdjian started very modestly by establishing a firm dealing in diamond
    and other precious stones of his own in 1881
  • His sons, in particular Jean-Baptiste built up this business into a thriving
    international company called ipekdjian Brothers
  • Offices in Philippines, Penang, Thailand, Shanghai.
  • 1951: Head Office: IPEKDJIAN BROTHERS LTD., Union Bldg., Hong Kong
  • 1960: IPEKDJIAN BROTHERS, LTD. Add.: 946, Alexandra House. Tels. ... Managing Director — JB Ipekdjian.

One of the other searches mentioned them setting up a Far-East Head office in Hong Kong, and from the above it looks as though business continued here into the 1960s at least.

Are they linked to the Chater family somehow?

Regards, David

Liz - A few more clues:

1.     The Hong Kong Companies Registry contains at least the following registrations that bear the family name:

(a)   Ipekdjian Brothers Limited (Company no: 0001141) – Incorporated on 12 January 1933; dissolved on 27 May 1994** by “other mode”

(b)   J.B. Ipekdjian and Company, Limited (Company no: 0003246) - Incorporated on 6 April 1951; dissolved on 28 October 1994** by striking off pursuant to Section 290A of the Companies Ordinance

(c)   Ipekdjian Merchandising Co. (Company no: F0000235) – Incorporated outside Hong Kong; place of business registered in Hong Kong on 24 September 1948; de-registered on 31 December 1950

** It’s possible that these companies have ceased trading some years before 1994, only existing as “corporate shells” from that time until they were finally dissolved.

2.     Reference in The Straits Times, 9 May 1927


“Certificates of naturalisation have been granted and oaths of allegiance taken in connection with Catherine Krey and Jean Baptiste Ipekdjian”, i.e. J.B. Ipekdjian became a citizen of the Straits Settlements shortly before that date.

3.     An article on the historical Hong Kong diamond market by Gaston D’Aquino


·         The Ipekdjian and Gregory families were among the first diamond wholesalers in Hong Kong

·         There were only 2 or 3 wholesalers in the 1930’s and 1940’s as diamonds were not generally prized as jewellery among the Chinese, who favoured gold followed by jade, pearls, rubies and sapphires

·         Chinese firms started to enter and/or expand the diamond market after WWII

From the above, the two families must have known each other because of their ethnic background and line of business.  However as far as business is concerned, they were not “associated” as they must have been direct competitors.

Hope this helps!

Dear All, thank you so much for all your help and notes.  It has opened up avenues of research that I can continue with.  David, Tigran Gregory is linked to the Chater family very indirectly though,  and J.B. Ipekdjian is an Armenian I knew nothing about, so all the information has helped on two fronts.

Thanks again, very much appreciated.

Best wishes


Hi. I lived in HK in the mid 1960's and spent quite a few days at their 35 Baker Rd home. I think his wife was Dorothy. My father was a business friend of Uncle JB, as we called him. I was looking for some connection regarding an inscription on wonderful gift they gave my parents for their weddin in 1952.

Hi Anita,  I am the granddaughter of JB and Dorothy.  Unfortunately I did not know my grandparents well since they lived in the Philippines and I lived in the USA.  I started looking into geneology for my son's school project and came across this forum.  Can you tell me anything about my grandparents?

Thank you !  Pia

Hi I am JB's granddaughter.  My parents had their wedding reception at my grandparents house on 35 Barker Rd.  I don't know if my grandfather was part owner or just worked at George Falconer, LTD but I have a lot of jewelry etc. that came from there.  

I believe they moved to the Philippines once the house on Victoria Peak sold.

Hi there,

Slow day here in the office on a Friday morning.  I typed in 'Ipekdjian Brothers' and searched randomly on the web, and have come up with bits mainly about the business side of things.  Perhaps some have come up before in Google searches by David.  Nevertheless, I list them here.

1. The Straits Times, 5 November 1931, Page 8

tells of an error a reporter made earlier:

"Kwek Kiam Seng, the complainant in a case of armed robbery which ended at the Assizes on Tuesday, is an accountant to Messrs. Ipekdjian Brothers, of Laidlaw Building, Singapore, and not to Lee Peek Chiang and Co., of Bukit Timah Road."

2. We are told a little of their business activity in the Philippines in 1963, and that they lost a court case, in the report for the following case: (http://www.ustcivillaw.com/Jurisprudence/1963/gr_l-14791_1963.php)  

Republic of the Philippines, Supreme Court,

Ipekdjian Merchandising Co., Inc., petitioner    versus    Court of Tax Appeals, and Commissioner of Internal Revenue, respondents. 

3.They probably ran an advertisement in a tourist magazine in 1963.  See information below the image of this page: http://www.addoway.com/viewad/Holiday-magazine-May-1963-153817 



Hi Liz,

I lived in Hong Kong in the 60's for about four years. The Ipekdjians were my family's close friends. We called them Aunt Dorothy and Uncle J.B. We spent holidays with them, visited their home in Manila, and saw them weekly---either our house or theirs. I interviewed Aunt Dorothy for a school project about their life in the Japanese Internment camp in the Philippines. Their involvement in my life had a profound effect on me.

Hi Liz,

My wife and I lioved in HK during the mid 60's. My wife is Armenian. We met a Mrs. Klein, who is Armenian married to a German, who had recently moved to HK from Singapore. She introduced my wife to an Armenian diamond merchant who was known as Mr. Diamond. I don't think we ever did know his name. His house was called "White Jade." He lived part of the time in HK and part of the time in Teheran. I don't know if he was related in any way to those you are researching. Just wanted to add this into the mix in case it is of any small help.