New York is an amazing town. Lower Manhattan sports Wall Street, SOHO and some of the best bars and restaurants in the city. Upper Manhattan has cultural exhibits such as The Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim and the American Museum of Natural History. Then there is Midtown, where all the high-end jewelry stores such as Tiffany, H Stern and others reside. Also in Midtown is a very special place called the Diamond District.
NYC’s Diamond District came into being in the early 1940s. It was during this time jewelers of the Jewish community fled Europe and settled in New York City. Prior to this, the New York Jewelry trade was down at the Southern tip of the island on Maiden Lane where it had resided for a few hundred years.
A traveler to the Diamond District is in for a nice surprise. It is here on 47th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenue, where the diamond gateway to the United States resides. Over 90% of the country’s diamonds enter here, most of which come through the famous Diamond Dealers Club and its 25,000 square foot diamond-trading floor the largest of its kind.
What can one expect on 47th Street? The Art of the Deal was born here. In the Diamond District, 2500+ jewelers are negotiating, some at street level with people like you and me, other times amongst themselves in the back rooms of the District.
If you’re going there to buy, we recommend that you do a little research. Understand that haggling is part of the process and you need to do more than just say “can you do any better” because that has the mark of a beginner written all over it. You may get a few dollars off, but you won’t truly know how well you did or should have done.
How to Find the Best Price
First, utilize online diamond stores such as James Allen or Zoara to find out what a fairly priced diamond should cost. Both have an online diamond-pricing tool that will allow you to play around with the four Cs of carat, color, cut and clarity to come up with the price that meets your budget. Next, with this basic knowledge in hand it’s time to go to New York. Go to the New York Jewelers Directory and search for Diamond District and then by item of choice (engagement rings, diamonds necklaces, etc.). Once you’ve found three jewelers, then simply go from jeweler to jeweler, discover their price, check it against the results you got online and your done. Make sure all diamonds are GIA certified (there are five grading labs, but GIA is the most respected and by far the most utilized).
Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself, once you’ve found the special item for the special person, then head south five blocks to Broadway and checkout a show. You can pick up tickets on the day for some of the best shows at a big discount at Hot Tix.
For those making the journey to New York for the first time, it’s a city filled with magic, entertainment and possibility – you won’t be disappointed. For those returning, enjoy the ever-changing landscape of the greatest city in the world.