MasterCut’s James Maxwell dies aged 35

Jewellery MD passes away after a battle with pneumonia.

James Maxwell, managing director of 21st Dimension Group and diamond jewellery brand MasterCut, has died aged just 35.

Maxwell contracted pneumonia before Christmas and was admitted to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. From there his condition deteriorated and he was put on a ventilator on Christmas Day before passing away on January 10.

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His death was unexpected, and his colleagues Jean Paul Tolkowsky and Lior Kunstler at Exelco and 21st Dimension have said that during his time in hospital, before his condition got too severe, he was "still telling jokes and writing emails from his hospital bed for as long as he could". They described him as battling against his illness with "courage, strength and the unwavering support of his family and friends".

Maxwell has left behind his wife Kate and their two sons Hugo and Rupert, who his colleagues describe as having been Maxwell’s “inspiration and the source of his strength”.

A statement from Tolkowsky and Kunstler read: “Words cannot express the sadness we feel, or the weight of the heaviness in our hearts. James inspired us, charmed us, and through his extraordinary work, his positive energy touched every continent on this planet.

“James was a unique and talented human being and we are so grateful for the opportunity to know and work with him. His impact on Exelco was immeasurable; his impact on us personally greater still. James gave life to the highest human virtues – courage, determination and optimism, integrity, humanity and humour. We will strive to live up to his example and his presence will forever be felt in our hearts.”

Maxwell had worked closely with buying group The Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) through diamond brand MasterCut, which is exclusive in the UK to CMJ members and CMJ chief executive Willie Hamilton has paid tribute to a man that he describes as “a pleasure to work with”.

Hamilton added: “He had a tremendous amount of drive and threw himself into anything he did with 100% commitment and energy, whether that was his work or his family. He was one of the jewellery industry’s most well-known characters and will be sorely missed by many, many people he worked with, both in The CMJ, in the wider UK jewellery industry and right around the world, as he worked with Exelco in Australia, the US, China, Thailand and Antwerp.”

Sarah Carpin of CMJ Media, who knew James for many years and worked with him at Mastercut Diamonds, said: "We are all in shock at such terrible news. James was always so full of life and had absolutely everything to live for. He played an instrumental part in the success of Mastercut Diamonds and managed to combine huge professionalism with enormous amounts of warmth and humour.

“His loss is a massive loss and a huge blow to the CMJ, to Exelco and to the wider jewellery and diamond industry. I will forever remain grateful to James for many, many things, including being the first person to introduce me to The CMJ and to Willie Hamilton. My lasting memory of him will be the outrageous way he danced at so many jewellery events. He truly danced as if no one was watching and lived his life at that same frenetic pace. I cannot believe he is gone."

Lucy Hill of the CMJ added: "I have lost a great friend in James. His positive outlook and his drive for success were infectious, as was his sense of humour and his love of gossip. I, and I’m sure all those that he knew or touched, will miss him terribly."

Maxwell had a close relationship with many jewellery retailers in the UK, including Green + Benz managing director Helen Dimmick who has described the loss of a “larger than life” character.

Dimmick said: “It was an incredible experience to have the privilege to work with him. And I had the highest admiration for how much he had achieved and his knowledge of diamond supply chain at such a young age."

Professional Jeweller readers who would like to pay tribute to Maxwell can comment below or email




One Comment;

  1. Stuart Spiers said:

    I taught him the clarinet at school. He was a fun character. I can’t believe he’s gone. My sincere condolences to his family.


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