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Monday 24 March 2014

The Big Apple: New York’s Bling Connection: Part I

New York. One word that brings to mind all the sights it is famous for, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the famous Rockefeller Centre. Little does one know that this city of nearly 13 million people is also one of the world’s leading centres of the diamond trade. Along with Antwerp in Belgium, London, Paris and Munich, New York is one of the leading cities in terms of buying and selling diamonds. Before exploring the city’s diamond district, it would be quite beneficial to understand the way in which the diamond business functions.

From the mine to the bourse:
We all know that diamonds are nothing more than carbon atoms that have withstood tremendous pressure for millions of years. Now for the more ‘practical’, business part of the transaction. De Beers is one of the world’s largest diamond manufacturers and the foremost diamond mining and supply house. Commercial jewelers and others purchase their diamonds from wholesalers like De Beers. Most of the world’s rough diamonds pass through bourses in Antwerp. This is where representatives of most of the commercial jewelry houses seek out traders and settle business with them. The entire transaction takes a short time and is completely based on the rapport a representative shares with a trader.

From the bourse to the polisher:
Once purchased, rough diamonds need to be polished and cut in order for them to be set in pieces of jewelry. Most of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished by skilled artisans in Surat, India and some other places in Europe. Surat is one of the world’s most precise and sought after diamond processing hubs, because of the high level of skill and finesse of its artisans. It is said that the fashioning of a diamond into a gemstone is a science and an art, that is handed down from one generation to the next here.

From the polisher to the jeweler:
Once polished the diamonds are dispatched to jewelers who fashion stunning ornaments for the consumer. Based on trends, popularity, demand and customer requests, design of the jewelry is determined. The rarity of the diamond, its size, the clarity and cut of the stone and its carat weight, determine the price of the piece of jewelry.

New York’s diamond district:
New York City's Diamond District, also known as Diamond and Jewelry Way, is located on 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. It's hard to believe, but the area is home to over 2600 diamond businesses, many of which are located inside of the street's 25 jewelry exchanges. Each exchange is home to about 100 different merchants, each independently owned and operated, but there are also larger stores along 47th Street for shopping as well. In the Diamond District, you can find just about any type of fine jewelry you desire, which makes it a great place to shop, and prices can be as much as 50% off of retail. The shops cater to both wholesale and retail clients, but you'll have the best success shopping if you've done your research and know what you're looking for.

History of New York’s Diamond District:

New York's first diamond and jewelry district was actually located on Maiden Lane, beginning around 1840. Today, the Diamond Dealers Club, the largest diamond trade organization in the U.S., is headquartered on 47th and Fifth Avenue. Originally located on Nassau Street, membership grew after World War II as many diamond dealers immigrated from Europe, necessitating a larger location, and thus its move uptown to 47th Street from its original downtown location. The move established 47th Street as New York's Diamond District, where businesses handle everything from the importation of rough diamonds to production and sale of fine diamond jewelry.

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