THE ALTMANN + CHERNY STORY


Altmann + Cherny - a true family business

In the 1930s, two innovative young men left their home towns in Germany to escape the uprising of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Arriving in Australia they met at a café frequented by expatriate Germans. At this small, insignificant café, a friendship was forged which was to last for the rest of their lives.

In 1948 after many days and nights dreaming of their future they came upon an idea which captured their imagination and their desire to make a successful life in their new country. Utilizing their practical and innovative skills they decided to honour their new homeland by specializing in Australian Opal. They pooled all their resources and opened the doors on a small dark office in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne and the company, Altmann + Cherny was born. They travelled to the harsh Australian outback and the opal mining towns of Coober Pedy, Andamooka and White Cliffs buying the rough, unpolished opals directly from the opal miners. They taught themselves how to cut and polish opal and then how to manufacture jewellery.  They quickly became a market leader in Australian Opal and still today Altmann + Cherny leads the way in showcasing this amazing and beautiful gemstone to the world.

Following in their fathers’ footsteps, Peter and Stephen Cherny, Rudi’s sons and Claire Altmann, John’s daughter joined the company and then later Fiona Altmann, John’s granddaughter, also began her apprenticeship.

The 'Olympic Australis' – the world's largest and most valuable opal

The 'Olympic Australis' – the world's largest and most valuable opal

Today Fiona is the General Manager of Altmann + Cherny. Her love of Australian Opal started at a very early age. During school holidays she would join her Grandfather in his office. His delight in sharing his great passion for Opals was apparent as he patiently taught Fiona how to sort the opals into colours, sizes and grades. She learnt how to look at a piece of rough opal and look beyond the sandstone to see the opal beneath. It’s over 75 years since John and Rudi first travelled to the opal fields and Fiona still makes the long dusty trip to see the opal miners, many who still remember the days when John and Rudi travelled the thousands of miles to the mines by car. Fiona’s amazing artistic talent has taken her into the world of jewellery design. She creates the most stunning pieces which showcase the extraordinary beauty of an Australian opal.

Fiona continues the very high standard set by her Grandfather, Mother, and the family of Rudi Cherny.

Their mantra has always been and will always be -Excellence in service, quality and value.

Fiona Altmann is proud to present Australia's National Gemstone – the Opal, to the World.

John Altmann cutting and polishing fine gem opals - 1954

John Altmann cutting and polishing fine gem opals - 1954

Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Andamooka Opal

Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Andamooka Opal

Rudi Cherny putting the finishing touches on another fine piece.

Rudi Cherny putting the finishing touches on another fine piece.

Fiona Altmann General Manager of Altmann + Cherny 

Fiona Altmann General Manager of Altmann + Cherny