What is the New York Diamond District?
Under twinkling diamond-shaped street lights lies Diamond and Jewelry Way, New York’s home for all things diamond and jewelry. Book-ended by Fifth and Sixth Avenues and running right through Times Square, is this famous block of 47th Street, housing more than 2,600 jewelers, wholesalers, and jewel-lined storefronts.
The United States is the world’s largest consumer of diamonds, and the New York City Diamond District is the hub of it all, facilitating the flow of over 90 percent of the diamonds entering the United States. Along with Philadelphia’s Jewelers’ Row and Los Angeles’s Jewelry District, the New York Diamond District is one of America’s premiere diamond districts, and is one of the oldest surviving jewelry district in the United States, second only to Jewelers’ Row.
The Diamond District in New York has everything you could possibly desire when looking for diamonds, engagement rings, gemstones, and jewelry. You can find both loose and set diamonds of virtually every size, shape, and quality or even bring in your own stone. New York Diamond District stores offer more than just diamonds, with a plentitude of options for colored gemstones, pearls, and jewelry of various metals and styles.
Jewelry Services - NY Diamond District
The 47th street New York diamond district also provides jewelry related services such as jewelry and watch repairs, metal engravings, and pearl restringing. And beyond these street-level sales operations is a hidden army of diamond cutters, blockers, sorters, graders, and polishers. In addition, the Diamond Dealers Club, the premier U.S. diamond exchange and the largest and oldest active organization in the U.S. diamond trade is also located in the New York City Diamond District. In short, everything and anything related to diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry can be found in the New York City Diamond District.
Although historic, the New York City Diamond District didn’t start on 47th Street.
Origin of NY Diamond District
The earliest origins of New York’s Diamond District actually began in Jewish communities of Antwerp, Belgium, and other cities of Eastern Europe. In the 15th century, the diamond industry was one of the few occupations available for European Jews as the church condemned them from handling select goods and money.
When Jews were banished from Spain and Portugal in the 1490s, many Jews took their expertise in the diamond industry and fled to modern-day Belgium. However, persecution followed relentlessly, as the Holocaust resulted in the death and refugee status of countless Jews. Those who managed to escape to the United States arrived with little else but their rich knowledge of the diamond industry.
While New York’s Diamond District started in the Financial District’s Maiden Lane, the co-location of financial and insurance companies caused rent to skyrocket, shifting the New York City Diamond District to Canal Street and the Bowery. But the influx of Jewish diamond merchants in conjunction with the expanding creep of downtown’s rising rent prices pushed jewelry stores in diamond district New York to move to their new and currently known location, 47th Street.
And since its final move in the 1940s, 47th Street’s New York Diamond District is a place to behold. While some Diamond District New York stores will own their own store fronts as many consumers are accustomed to, most retailers will have booths in the 25 jewelry “exchanges” of the New York Diamond District. Each exchange can house up to 100 separate independent jewelry businesses, allowing you to easily compare prices and quality without moving more than a few feet.
Ecommerce in the Diamond District
But with the rise of ecommerce, electronic clicks are rapidly replacing the firm handshakes that once sealed the diamond trades of the New York City Diamond District trading floor. While the physical membership of the Diamond Dealers Club has stagnated at a flat 2,000 in the past few years, approximately 1,200 new members have joined the DDC’s new Web-based trading platform, established in 2003. Instead of using diamond brokers to purchase diamonds from wholesalers, jewelers are now searching online.
Moreover, customers themselves are plunging into the diamond world, directly seeking ecommerce diamond retailers.
But with something as sentimental as diamond engagement rings, consumers are still split in their ways. Traditionalists may prefer New York Diamond District engagement rings, steadfast to the need to see and feel a diamond before purchase. But as seen in nearly all consumer industries, the world is quickly shifting into the purchasers hands, with many seeing ecommerce as the new normal.Shop Engagement Rings