Industry mourns the loss of legendary diamond cutter

Industry mourns the loss of legendary diamond cutter - Artificial Jewellery

One of the world’s most revered diamond cutters, Sir Gabriel Tolkowsky, has passed away at the age of 84.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1939, Tolkowsky learned the trade from his father, Jean, who owned the first diamond-polishing factory in Israel.

The Tolkowsky family name remains renowned within the diamond industry, and Gabriel was the great-nephew of Marcel Tolkowsky, the inventor of the ideal-cut round brilliant diamond.

In an interview with Rapaport News, Tolkowsky said some of his fondest memories came from his early days in the trade.

“To polish diamonds, he [Jean] had to use a bicycle to turn the polishing wheel, because there was no electricity,” he said.

“Many of the first diamond people in Israel were my father’s pupils. I learned my trade from him, and I am proud to have had such a rare opportunity.”

From 1975 through 1995, Tolkowsky worked for the De Beers Group, gaining fame for the cutting of the 273-carat Centenary Diamond – a process that took more than three years.

He would later earn the appointment as the cutter of the 545-carat Golden Jubilee Diamond.

Reflecting on his storied career in an interview with Jeweller, Tolkowsky was humble about his many achievements.

“Without having a team of 15 expert scientists, technicians, security guards, and master diamond cutters that communicated daily with me during three long years, I would have never been able to achieve the uniqueness of such a creation,” he said when discussing the Golden Jubilee.

“Together we realised that every single diamond is effectively an individual that will attract every human’s senses; each one of them is a unique beauty.

“As it is said, ‘beauty is altogether in the eye of the beholder.’ This, without any doubt, was and still is the basic reason for humans to continue to manufacture and deal with diamonds.”

In 2002, his contributions to the diamond industry were acknowledged by a Knighthood Chevalier de L’ Ordre du Roi Leopold II from the Belgian government.



More reading

A moment with Sir Gabriel Tolkowsky, ‘the father of modern brilliance’
Making the cut: A to Z diamond cuts
Tolkowsky’s unique diamond arrives in Australian stores


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