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Exactly when humans discovered that diamonds were the only material that could be used to polish other diamonds is in dispute. However, we do know that early attempts to polish diamonds were crude, and often relied on simple tools. Hand driven bow drills and leather straps dipped in diamond powder were the only tools available, and the time-consuming effort of polishing a diamond was often a task given to slaves and servants. Not surprisingly, the earliest examples of diamond jewelry mostly featured rough diamonds, perhaps with just a small amount of polishing to smooth out surface imperfections. This all changed with the invention of the scaif, credited to the legendary Lodewyk van Bercken. His invention gave cutters a practical tool to begin faceting diamonds, unlocking their hidden beauty. Today’s modern polishing still uses the same concept van Bercken developed more than 500 years ago.

Polished diamond prices remained flat overall in October for the third consecutive month, according to the Mercury Diamond Global Tracker™ (MDGT™) , an index of polished diamond transaction prices. The steady prices, following an extended period of price declines, are a welcome sign of stability for the global diamond industry.

The Tolkowsky name is legendary in the diamond business, and synonymous with expertise and precision. The firm bearing its founder’s name is still active today, run by the seventh generation of this illustrious family. Over the years, various family ancestors have been responsible for major breakthroughs and innovations in the craft, and have been a part of cutting some of the most important diamonds in the world. The Tolkowsky dynasty began in the early 1800s with Abraham Tolkowsky, who was a talented diamond and precious gem cutter and dealer. He was well connected, and became a recognized diamond dealer to European nobility. He moved his family from Bialystok, Poland to Antwerp to work in what had already become the center of diamond trade in Europe at that time. Several of his nine children would work with him in the family business. His sons Samuel and Maurice would establish themselves as professional diamond cutters, and would eventually carry on the family’s growing legacy.

Mary Frances Gerety is not a name that many people are familiar with, even those in the diamond industry. She produced one of the most brilliant pieces of diamond marketing ever, and all of us working in diamonds owe our livelihoods in part to her. Gerety, who went by her middle name Frances, coined the immortal marketing slogan “a diamond is forever". When it was launched, it helped to associate diamonds with love, and solidified the role of diamonds in marriage and engagements. Today’s diamond industry owes its survival largely to this successful marketing drive.

October 2017 Market Report

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On one hand, the diamond market is showing clear improvements in activity and demands. However, at the same time, prices of polished diamonds are at a three-year low, and demands are still mostly flat. There are some increases in demand, but in Israel there is a single notable drop in demand.


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