Ernest "Monty" Charles was one of the principal architects of the modern diamond industry and the Sight system created by De Beers. He commanded the power within De Beers to decide which diamond parcels went to which clients, as well as who was on or off the Sightholder list. With De Beers controlling over 80% of the market at the time, and with Monty Charles in charge of both the buying and selling operations of De Beers, he was almost a monopoly in and of himself.
Monty was always known as a tough man. It was said that he was hardened by his years as a POW. When he walked onto the diamond-sorting floor, any conversation immediately stopped and there was a notable hush. However his acumen and foresight were beyond question. During his tenure at De Beers, annual sales increased from £4 million to over £2 billion. He was highly respected for his vision and helped modernize the company with a heavy focus on technology and data analysis. He further helped train a new generation of sales professionals, some of whom are still with the company today. He died in 2004 at the age of 84.