All over the world diamond deals are clinched with a handshake and with the two Hebrew words "mazal u’bracha" (may the deal be with luck & blessings). This is the accepted code among diamond dealers whether in Israel, the U.S., China, India and even Arab countries.
Home to Leading International Companies
Representatives of the leading diamond mining companies as well as the foremost international companies in rough diamond trading are stationed in the IDE complex.
In addition, the complex houses leading international companies manufacturing and trading in polished diamonds and jewelry, and offering associated services to the international jewelry trade.
For many diamond companies the Israel Diamond Exchange presents a strategic commercial center for their head office, from where they conduct their global operations.
The IDE in the International Arena
The Israel Diamond Exchange holds a prominent and central position in the international industry including key roles in all the branch international organizations – among them the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (uniting bourses from 5 continents), the International Diamond Manufacturers' Association, the World Diamond Council and the Kimberley Process.
The IDE has been one of the protagonists in consolidating and implementing the Kimberley Process, an international process for preventing trade in conflict diamonds, under the auspices of the UN, with more than 70 states participating as well as international human rights organizations. Israel held the Chair of the Kimberley Process in 2010.
Israel’s Outstanding Exporter
Since the State of Israel was established the Israeli Diamond Industry has contributed significantly to the development of its economy.
Polished diamonds are one of Israel’s leading export items. Today Israel is one of the world’s largest exporters of polished diamonds, and a major center for the trade in rough diamonds as well. About one third of global rough diamond production is imported to the Israel Diamond Exchange each year from where it finds its way to world markets.
Israel is the foremost polished diamond supplier to the US market, which is considered the largest diamond consumption market in the world. Approximately 50% of diamonds purchased in the US in dollar terms come from Israel.
With the rapid growth of Asian markets – most notably Hong Kong, China and India -- Israel is rapidly becoming a major factor in supplying these markets as well.
Contributing to Israel’s Economic Development
The Israeli Diamond Industry contributes approximately $800 million annually to Israel’s balance of payments. More than 20,000 families earn their livelihood directly through the Israeli Diamond Industry. Moreover, approximately 330,000 visitors and foreign buyers visit the complex annually.
In addition to the 20,000 employed directly, the Israeli Diamond Industry contributes indirectly to other branches of the economy such as tourism, banking, aviation, communications and security, and is responsible for creating many more employment opportunities.
The Israeli Diamond Industry has also been instrumental in the urban and economic development of Ramat-Gan. "Ramat-Gan City" one of the most important and vibrant business centers in Israel was built around the diamond complex.
The Israeli Diamond Industry works in close cooperation with the Ramat Gan municipality on a wide range of activities aimed at developing the city and promoting the welfare of its citizens. Similarly, the industry has a long history of cooperation with Shenkar College of Engineering and Design for the advancement of industry, art, design and higher education in the city.
From Cottage Industry to Mega-Industry
The diamond industry has always been entwined with the history of the Jewish people in Europe. In medieval times, legal prohibitions limited Jews to certain professions and this was an a branch free of trade and guild restrictions. Moreover, diamond trade routes corresponded with the links between Jewish centers in the Diaspora and thus the trade was particularly suited to Jewish enterprise. For this and other reasons, the diamond trade became a popular occupation among Jews and many acquired professionalism and extensive knowledge in the field.
| Zoltan Kluger -Courtesy of the Government Press
| Ramat Gan in 1947|
Israel’s industry began in the 1930s by enterprising immigrants who brought a trade they had learned in Belgium. By 1940 a handful of factories were operating in Netanya and Tel Aviv and in 1937 the “Israel Diamond Exchange” was formed, under the name the “Palestine Diamond Club”. The diamond club met first in a room in a private house and later moved to a cafe in Tel Aviv.
During WW2, when the traditional European centers fell under German occupation, Israel became a major source for polished diamonds. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 came a new influx of immigrants who were enlisted to work in the newly established diamond industry. Locally-developed manufacturing techniques made it possible to train workers within months.
Over the years the industry continued to grow, as diamond workers established their own manufacturing and trading businesses. Exports grew to the United States, the Far East and Europe. Israel was responsible for introducing most of the technological advances to the industry, including the laser, automatic brutting and polishing, and computerized decision making systems, which today are found in diamond manufacturing factories around the world.
Learn more about the Israeli Diamond Industry