The History of the New York Diamond District


Discover the Rich Heritage and Charm of NYC's Premier Jewelry Hub

The Diamond District of NYC is a city block full of old-world charm and the most experienced and knowledgeable jewelers. In the heart of one of the biggest and most bustling cities in the world, the Diamond District in New York has withstood the constant changes of the surrounding city. Located between Times Square and Rockefeller Center, this single block of 47th Street in Midtown Manhattan has a rich history and an incredible story. Decades after it was first established, it continues to overcome challenges and remains the foremost diamond hub of the United States.

The History of the Diamond District in NYC

The history of the Diamond District NYC began in 1795 on a Manhattan street called Maiden Lane. It was here that diamond merchants first established a base of operations to sell diamonds from all over the world to high society patrons. In the early 1900s, many financial establishments wanted a presence in the downtown area, and jewelers struggled to pay the ever-increasing rent. So, they began to collectively relocate to uptown Manhattan. Builders erected buildings on 47th Street that were specifically tailored to entice jewelers, allowing them to move with ease. This enabled them to re-establish a new area centered around the diamond and jewelry industry. By 1925, the Diamond District as we know it today was established.

The Evolution of the New York Diamond District

In the 1940s, World War II and the invasion of many European countries caused countless individuals to flee to New York City to establish businesses, many of which included jewelry shops. Diamond District jewelers came from all over the world, including Amsterdam, Antwerp, Tel Aviv, and more. Over the last century, some things have changed about the Diamond District, but much remains the same.

The way diamond merchants still do business is surprisingly similar to decades ago, with a handshake as the official means of securing a deal. Although technology has advanced within the stores, diamond merchants from across the globe love to do business in the old-world “barter” type economy that continues to serve them well.

Fascinating Facts about the Diamond District in NYC

Curious about how business operates in the New York Diamond District? Or do you want to know how many diamonds pass through this area and what the security is like in the area? Read on to learn some of the most interesting facts about this fabulous area of the Big Apple.

Transactions: Handshakes and Trust in the Diamond District

Some of the most fascinating facts about the Diamond District relate to the way diamond merchants sell, buy, barter, and trade gemstones. The Smithsonian Magazine compared the Diamond District to an “old world bazaar,” citing the securing of deals with handshakes and Yiddish blessings. It may seem risky in such a high-stakes industry, but it has worked for over a century and continues to be successful. It’s important to note that purchasing jewelry is not handled as casually, and diamond merchants rely heavily on family reputations, mutual trust, and industry-imposed sanctions that hold dishonest merchants accountable.

Stores and Jewelry Exchange: A Diverse Marketplace

In the Diamond District of NYC, stores are plentiful, with over 2,600 individual companies conducting business in the city block. Many of these Diamond District jewelers are not singular storefronts but do their business within one of several jewelry exchanges in the Diamond District. NYC’s best stores have a stellar reputation for selling quality pieces and providing excellent customer service.

Gemological Institute of America: Educating the Industry

Located among the best diamond stores in NYC is the Gemological Institute of America, or GIA. Its convenient location makes it the ideal place for budding diamantaires to hone their craft. It’s here that they learn how to grade and appraise diamonds, including creating a grading report and identifying the differences between real, quality diamonds and imitations. Jewelry professionals can also acquire an in-depth education in gemology, jewelry, design, and more. The GIA provides continuing education courses for already-certified experts so they can continue improving their expertise.

Largest Diamond Shopping District: A Global Hub

The Diamond District in NYC is the second-oldest area of its kind in the United States. The oldest jewelry district is called Jeweler’s Row, and it’s located in Philadelphia. Although it’s not quite as old as Jeweler’s Row, the Diamond District in New York is the largest diamond shopping district in the world, and it is, by far, the most prominent hub of diamond exchange in the US. It is estimated that about 90% of all diamonds that make their way into the United States come through NYC’s Diamond District first. Additionally, the daily transactions in the Diamond District are estimated to be around $400 million!

Safety and Security: A Well-Guarded Gem

Although the history of the Diamond District is rich with trust-centered deals, technology has improved safety. The security and efficiency of this city block get better every year. Police officers have a large presence in the Diamond District, and the whole block is covered in security cameras, many of which were supplied by the Department of Homeland Security. Despite this, the area maintains its charm, boasting diamond-shaped streetlights on either end of the block, sparkling sidewalks (literally), and gorgeous Art Deco architecture that enhances the overall beauty and appeal.

Benefits of Shopping at Roman Malakov in NYC’s Diamond District

If you’re searching for a gorgeous diamond or a new piece of jewelry, it only makes sense to visit the Diamond District. The sheer volume of options is enough to make any jewelry connoisseur giddy with excitement. However, it can be overwhelming to conquer the Diamond District without someone to guide you, and you may be left feeling frustrated by all the choices. Instead of galavanting across the entire block in search of a good deal and gorgeous jewelry, come straight into Roman Malakov. We guarantee you’ll have a fantastic experience with us, and we’re confident we can help you find something amazing. 

Personalized Service with a Smile

Unlike other jewelers, our professionals are never pushy or aggressive. They don’t have sales tactics in the traditional sense, but rather aim to find you what you’re looking for and offer you as many options as you wish to see. Shopping with Roman Malakov is like shopping with a friend—we truly want to help you find something you love and will never pressure you into purchasing something you don’t adore.

Quality and Authenticity Guaranteed

All of the diamonds you’ll find at Roman Malakov have certificates to ensure their quality and authenticity, and we will help you explore each individual one to find the best balance of the 4Cs to meet your budget and needs. We offer diamonds in many different shapes and sizes, with a variety of grades across color, clarity, cut, and carat. We only sell natural diamonds, and all our diamonds come from communities that prioritize the utmost ethics and quality of life for diamond workers. 

Exquisite Collections and Craftsmanship

Our extensive diamond selection includes stunning engagement rings, gorgeous high jewelry, and many other custom-designed pieces that are adorned with high-quality natural diamonds, featuring the finest craftsmanship. We’re confident that you’ll enjoy your visit to Roman Malakov in NYC’s iconic Diamond District. 

How First-Timers Navigate the NYC Diamond District

For first-time visitors to the Diamond District, navigating the bustling area can be a bit overwhelming. To make your visit as smooth as possible, plan your trip during regular business hours, typically Monday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm or 6 pm at Roman Malakov. While some businesses are open on Saturdays, many are closed on Sundays. 

In terms of transportation, consider using public transit options like the subway, with nearby stations at 47th-50th Streets - Rockefeller Center (B, D, F, and M lines) or 49th Street (N, Q, R, and W lines). If you prefer to drive, look for parking garages in the area, but be prepared for potentially high parking rates.

When exploring the Diamond District, be sure to visit some of the notable and historic jewelry stores, such as Roman Malakov, known for its exceptional customer service and high-quality diamonds. 

To ensure you're working with reputable jewelers, look for businesses with strong online reviews, proper accreditation, and affiliations with respected industry organizations like the Jewelers of America or the American Gem Society. Trust your instincts and avoid deals that seem too good to be true, as they may indicate scams or low-quality diamonds. 

By doing your research and staying vigilant, you'll be well-prepared to navigate the vibrant Diamond District in New York City.

FAQs about the Diamond District in New York

Are you planning a trip to the iconic Diamond District in New York City or simply curious about this bustling hub of the jewelry world? Here, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the Diamond District to provide you with valuable insight and help you navigate this fascinating area.

What is the Diamond District in New York?

The Diamond District is the world’s largest region of diamond exchange. It is home to diamond merchants who both sell and buy individual diamonds and other gemstones. It is also where countless retail jewelers and wholesalers do business and contains many independent jewelers. If you’re searching for where to buy wholesale jewelry in New York or looking for the best diamond stores in NYC, the Diamond District is your destination.

Where is the Diamond District in NYC?

The Diamond District is located in NYC’s Midtown Manhattan, on 47th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It’s between Times Square and Rockefeller Center and is easily recognized by its diamond-shaped streetlights, Art Deco architecture, and countless jewelry shops and diamond merchants.

Are diamonds cheaper in the Diamond District?

The price you’ll pay for a diamond in the Diamond District depends on a lot of things. Do your research before visiting a jewelry store or wholesale supplier. You will want to know what to expect, what you’re looking for, and what a reasonable price might be. If you’re uncertain where to start or don’t have the time to do research, it’s best to visit a trustworthy and respected Diamond District jeweler to get honest, helpful assistance. 

Because of the wide variety and large quantity of diamonds available in the Diamond District, it is possible to find a diamond here at a lower price than you could elsewhere. In addition to price, you can be sure that the quality and selection of loose stones, diamond jewelry, and gemstone pieces in the Diamond District in NYC is superior to anywhere else in the country.

Why is it called the Diamond District NYC?

As the biggest jewelry district in NYC (and the world!), the Diamond District is called this because of the sheer volume of diamonds that are bought and sold in the area. With over 2,600 sellers and shops, the Diamond District sees over 90% of the diamonds in the U.S. before they make their way into retail stores. 

What street is the Diamond District NYC?

The vast majority of this iconic jewelry district in NYC is located on 47th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues. Some shops are on 48th Street, while others are on 5th Avenue near 49th Street and 50th Street. It’s all right in the center of Manhattan near Rockefeller Center. 

Shop Roman Malakov a New York Jeweler

If you’re ready to make a trip to the Diamond District, be sure to stop by Roman Malakov. Our storefront is located right in the heart of this incredible city block, where you’ll find a wide selection of beautiful jewelry to delight and excite you. Allow our highly professional jewelers to serve you. You can book an appointment for an in-store or virtual consultation, shop online, or visit us in person.