Founded in 1789, by German immigrant businessmen Georg Carl Backes and (later on) Max Strauss, the company is the oldest diamond company in the world.
By the early 19th century Georg Carl Backes was a successful goldsmith in the city of Hanau. During this time, his company (originally named Backes & Co.) had done so well that he sent his 24-year-old son Johann Franz to London to open a new office. After Georg Carl's death in 1819, his son continued trading and manufacturing of diamonds and jewellery. Examples were shown at London's great exhibition in 1851 and two pages of its official catalogue were devoted to illustrations of J.F. Backes's jewellery.
By now, Johann had been joined in the business by his sons, Charles and William and in 1856, the company employed an office boy by the name of Max Strauss. Fifteen years later, Max Strauss was managing J.F. Backes & Co. and in 1873, the company started trading as 'Backes & Strauss'. Manufacturing activities in Britain started in 1877. During that period the hallmark was registered at London's Goldsmiths' Hall in 1878.