web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » Sections » Books »

Title: Diamond Stories, Enduring Change On 47th Street

Title: Diamond Stories, Enduring Change On 47th Street
Author: Renée Rose Shield
Publisher: Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y.

 

    “There were these two diamond dealers negotiating over a diamond. One was offering nearly $100,000 for a five-carat stone. They were not far apart but became very stubborn – their commissions depended upon it. They were arguing incessantly and loudly. A schnorrer going on his rounds overheard them and told them he would settle the difference – ‘I’ll give you the $100,000.’ One said: ‘Seems to me you’ve got a lot of chutzpah – here you’re begging all day, and you’ve got all this money.’ The schnorrer replied: ‘For me, diamonds are just a side business.’”

 

      This and similar lore is contained in this anthropological study of life on New York’s 47th Street, including a behind-the-scenes look at the Diamond Dealers Club, the DeBeers monopoly, even the almost-secret arbitration system that helps keep most of the workings of the “diamond society” so secret.

 

      Born to a family of diamond dealers and traders, Shields finagled her way onto the street to explore the enigmatic society where commercialism meets Judaism in what is essentially a closed community built on generations of trust.

 

      There are many sources where we can read about the mechanics of gemstones, including “The four c’s” (cut, color, clarity, carat weight), cleaving, polishing, grading, etc.; but this socio-anthropological study is one of the first to bring us right into the milieu of a closed society. It’s almost like Margaret Mead writing about the Trobriand islanders.

 

      After being introduced to the officials of the exchange by her uncles Moishe and Shmiel, who were members and dealers, Shields hung about, questioned participants and recorded incidents from daily trading. Of course Diamond Stories fills us in of the vitals of diamond exploration, production and distribution on the world market, including the efforts of DeBeers and others to maintain the image (and the price) of diamonds as a rare commodity of high value – even if they’re really not.

 

      Although they are competing over a commodity that these few, mostly Orthodox Jews have been supplying to the world for ages, the members of this very insular community live together, pray together, eat together and even celebrate their simchas together. It has become a world-wide community involving trading over the several bourses (diamond exchanges) where literally millions of dollars in precious stones are traded on no more than a hand-shake. Even the non-Jews who participate have learned to exclaim “mazel and bracha” to seal a bargain.

 

      Shields pays particular attention to the fact that while women were rarely involved in the industry barely a generation earlier, their presence has increased, and she describes the effect this has on the market place. Until the 80′s there wasn’t even a ladies restroom in The Club.

 
      If you are considering a career in the diamond industry and want to know what goes on behind-closed-doors” Diamond Stories is a must-read. If you’re just curious or need to know why these beautiful little pieces of clear stone are so expensive, this is a very interesting illumination of the business and the mechanics of production and distribution.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Title: Diamond Stories, Enduring Change On 47th Street”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Wounded Golani commander returns to his troops on July 22, 2014.
Golani Commander Proves Why the Unit is Known for Bravery
Latest Sections Stories
book-Family-Frayda

Written entirely through Frayda’s eyes, the reader is drawn by her unassuming personality.

book-I-Kings

Adopting an ancient exegetical approach that is based on midrashic readings of the text, thematic connections that span between various books of the Bible are revealed.

book-Unify-A-Nation

While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people”

Schonfeld-logo1

The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defines a mentch as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.”

Certainly today’s communication via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and the like, including the ubiquitous Whatsapp, has reduced the need to talk with people and communicate at length.

These two special women utilized their incredibly painful experience as an opportunity to assist others.

Maybe we don’t have to lose that growth and unity that we have achieved, especially with the situation in Eretz Yisrael right now.

Sleepily, I watched him kissing Mai’s chubby thighs.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

My teachers like me and they tell my parents that I am a great girl with good middos.

The chicken and waffle nuggets were fabulous and were like chicken in a dessert form.

“Have you forgotten your dreams?” The Hope Merchant asks a defeated and hopeless Lily when she “happens” upon his shop.

The universe was created by God out of nothing; it has not always existed.

He combined intellectual achievement with deep spirituality and religious devotion.

More Articles from Aharon Ben Anshel
book-The-Last-Commission

Green was an American volunteer in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, but something happened In Israel that has haunted him ever since.

Officer-and-a-Spy-062014

Witnessed by Theodore Herzl, who was a journalist for a Viennese newspaper covering the trial, the cause célèbre became the spark that eventually caused the rise of the State of Israel in modern times.

These eleven nursing home residents and their accompanying staff from the Connecticut nursing home could represent any of us or our own loved ones…

There are three kinds of travelers: there are tourists, there are businesspeople, and then there are historians like Ben G. Frank.

The last kind doesn’t simply go from here to there. They try to relive history and find the real meaning behind what they experience.

Behind “the news” there’s almost always a story that isn’t being reported, and certain kinds of phenomenon occur almost simultaneously all over the world in almost every era.

Whether this is a memoir or autobiography or whether this book was written as an article of regional diplomacy, King Abdullah does come across in this book as a quite sincere person making a valiant effort at regional diplomacy, who is trying to quell terrorism in the Mideast and raise the social and economic levels of his countrymen.

As any psychologist can tell you – no two people who see an event come away with the very same experience. Criminologists and detectives who question people who may have witnessed a crime experience the fact that several different people will report various versions of the event.

As any psychologist can tell you – no two people who see an event come away with the very same experience. Criminologists and detectives who question people who may have witnessed a crime experience the fact that several different people will report various versions of the event.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-diamond-stories-enduring-change-on-47th-street/2006/06/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: