Manhattan’s Districts – Today Featuring The Diamond District

8 Nov

Today, let’s take a stroll across one short block.

On 47th Street in Manhattan – from 6th Avenue

to 5th Avenue.

Did you notice the Diamond Monoliths that flank each corner?

When you see those, you know that you are entering Manhattan’s Diamond District.

Wikipedia tells us:

The district was created when dealers moved north from an earlier district near Canal Street and the Bowery that was created in the 1920s, and from a second district located in the Financial District which started in 1931. The move uptown started in 1941.

The district grew in importance when the German Nazis invaded the Netherlands and Belgium, forcing thousands of Orthodox Jews in the diamond business to flee Antwerp and Amsterdam and settle in New York City. Most of them remained after World War II, and remain a dominant influence in the Diamond District.”

It’s one short block between 5th & 6th, but almost every storefront is a jewelry store, or a space that houses multiple jewelers.

Wikipedia says:

It has been reported that total receipts for the value of a single day’s trade on the block average $400 million. There are 2,600 independent businesses located in the district, nearly all of them dealing in diamonds or jewelry. Most are located in booths at one of the 25 “exchanges” in the district. Many deals are finalized by a simple, traditional blessing (mazel und brucha) and handshake.”

I’ve read elsewhere that “According to estimations, around a half billion dollars exchanges hands in just one day in the Diamond District“.

Gulp! And I believe that these reports were made before precious metal soared so recently in price. On the day I was there, Gold was valued at $1,782.00/oz., Platinum at $1,634.00/oz. and Silver at $34.48/oz.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the windows, shall we?

Even closer!

I must admit, I know next to nothing about fine jewelry. I don’t really know anything about costume jewelry.

I can’t even tell them apart.

The giant pieces seem *almost* tacky to me. Or, shall I say ostentatious?

Um, this price tag seems to say $87500 and I don’t see any decimal point.

Now, I DO really like the antique jewelry. They mostly sing out “Classy”.

UNLIKE these:

Now, really? I can’t imagine ANYONE wearing a diamond-encrusted-Jesus-face pendant.

Can you?

It’s very interesting, wandering up and down this street. There are hawkers everywhere, trying to get you to sell or buy out on the sidewalk. There are men outside on their cell phones, making and closing deals.

There are jewelers sitting inside the glass windows with their loupes and magnifiers, sifting through piles of loose diamonds.

There are women inside their window beckoning and smiling and enticing you to enter their shop.

Half a billion dollars a day changing hands.


You have GOT to experience The Diamond District to believe it!




4 Responses to “Manhattan’s Districts – Today Featuring The Diamond District”

  1. margiesmom November 8, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    $87500 and no decimal point? Holy smoke! I would get nervous just looking at those pieces, but touring the shops this way is very nice.

    Thank you 🙂

    • sallanscorner November 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      LOL – they kept trying to get me to enter the stores and I had to laugh thinking “I am so not your ideal customer!”

      Fun to experience, though…

  2. Hubby November 8, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    After reading your blog, I remembered that there’s a big scene in the movie “Marathon Man” (1976) that takes place in the Diamond District.

    Then I did a bit of research and learned that the district is also featured in the movie “Snatch” (2000).

    • sallanscorner November 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

      Thanks Hubby! Makes me want to see those movies again!!

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