New York's Diamond District: Everything You Need To Know

There’s something other-worldly and old-worldly about New York City’s infamous “Diamond District”. In 2001, the New York Times called it “an anachronism, a 17th-century industry smack in the middle of a 21st-century city.” But what is it like buying or selling diamonds on this lively street? We review the history, pros and cons and more of this historic block.

NYC Diamond District

Overview of the NYC Diamond District:

Overview of NYC Diamond District

What Is The Diamond District?

The Diamond District is a bustling block in midtown Manhattan, home to thousands of jewelers and jewelry wholesalers.

All kinds of gemstones, including diamonds, of course — loose and otherwise — are cut, polished, sorted, and graded to beckon shoppers to buy them, as do street hawkers. Merchants there also set diamonds, repair watches, and other jewelry, and restring pearls.

Where Is The NYC Diamond District?

The Diamond District is located on West 47th Street, between 5th and 6th avenue.

The History Of The Diamond District

New York City’s Diamond District started out on Maiden Lane in the Financial District. Eventually, the influx of financial and insurance companies sent rents upward and diamond marketers moved and then — thanks to the city’s always rising rents — moved again to the current location.

Present Day

Jewelers and wholesalers reach a total estimate ranging from 2,600 to 4,000; you’ll find most in any of 25 booths called “exchanges.” At night, diamond-shaped street lamps light the way in this kaleidoscope of karats, but most places are only open during daytime hours. Some shops see people only by appointment.

While historically and today, many of the shop owners, managers, and employees have been Orthodox Jews, you’ll also hear the business of diamonds conducted in almost every language in the world on this block of 47th Street.

Did you know?

  • Over 90% percent of diamonds in the United States are estimated to come in through the Diamond District in New York.
  • Sales in the Diamond District average $400 million in a single day and $24 billion in a year.

The future of the Diamond District

Many Diamond District deals that once closed with a handshake and the Yiddish word “Mazle” (signifying “the deal is done”) now take place online. You can see what’s currently in stock at some Diamond District shops there. And 1,200 new members have recently joined the Diamond Dealers Club — the organization considered the “anchor of the diamond trade” — online.

What It Is Like Buying Diamonds In The Diamond District

If you decide to shop in the Diamond District, prepare yourself for a shopping experience like almost no other.

1. Be Ready for High-Pressure Sales

If you’re one of those people who feel guilty when you don’t buy something, or you like to take your time to consider before purchasing, or you just like to browse, this may not be the place for you. With so many dealers competing for a sale, you might be easily overwhelmed. High-pressure tactics may include offering you something at a discount but only if you purchase it right away.

2. Know Your Stuff

Try to get somewhat familiar beforehand with color, clarity, cut, and carat weight, the “4Cs” of diamond quality standardized by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

3. Read Reviews

Check out reviews of different sellers. Make an appointment with any you like.

4. Be Savvy

Don’t mention your budgeted price upfront, wait until a dealer offers you a price. You may even want to haggle, a common Diamond District practice.

5. Get An Authentic Grading Certificate from the Vendor

Buy diamonds that have been graded by the GIA. This is the most accurate and reputable diamond grading laboratory on the market.

6. Get It in Writing

Absolutely get a sales slip with any return policy written on it. Maybe reconsider if the owner doesn’t have a return policy.

How To Sell Diamonds In The Diamond District

If you want to sell your jewelry to a Diamond District dealer, similar suggestions apply:

  1. Research is key.
  2. Once again, avoid pressure and don’t be pushed into selling for a price you are not comfortable with.
  3. Check that the merchant has a properly displayed second-hand dealer’s license from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs.
  4. The state requires that a dealer get a signed document of ownership and the transaction amount. Have your picture ID and avoid anyone who doesn’t require these.

Buy and sell diamond jewelry for the best prices

Why myGemma Outshines the Diamond District for Selling Your Diamond Jewelry

Located just outside the hustle and bustle of the Diamond District, myGemma offers a calm environment to sell your diamond jewelry in a professional, discrete setting to luxury buyers. We offer a speedy, simple, and secure way to sell your diamonds for the best price.

  • Speed: We’ve designed our process to take as little as 24 hours, from start to finish. From diamond engagement rings to designer wedding bands, we purchase your luxury jewelry directly.
  • Free Service: Our service is free of charge, whether you sell to us online or in person.
  • Diamond Experts: Our team of GIA trained gemologists are industry veterans, with the experience and knowledge to accurately price your pre-owned diamonds. We also buy luxury watches, handbags and designer jewelry.
  • No stress: When selling to myGemma, there is no pressure or sales tactics.We offer our best prices right upfront, no low-ball offers, haggling, or misleading numbers.
  • Honest Prices: We offer honest and transparent price quotes. No hidden fees or commissions deducted.
  • Our Reputation: We have an A+ BBB rating and over one thousand customer reviews. We take pride in going the extra mile in our exceptional customer service.
  • Convenience: We offer free, fully insured shipping for items you want to send into our offices. In-person appointments can be made in New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and the UK, Monday-Friday.

How To Buy Affordable Diamond Jewelry

  • Shop Pre-owned: When looking for affordable diamonds or diamond jewelry, the pre-owned market is your best option. Not only is this the most sustainable way to shop diamonds, but you get to enjoy the same quality at a fraction of the price.
  • Shop Online: shopping online will reduce the cost as there are no big markups due a store’s large overhead costs.
  • Research: it is crucial to make sure you buy from a trustworthy seller. At myGemma, every diamond and piece of jewelry has been certified and authenticated by luxury experts.

A highly rated second-hand seller like myGemma offers the perfect way to buy authenticated pre-owned diamond jewelry at the best price. Shop diamond jewelry and the designer brands you love at up to 80% off retail.