Jewelry: Rock Steady

  • Jill Newman

When it comes to acquiring large and exceedingly rare diamonds, New York diamond dealer William Goldberg is known for his audacity. Recently, he learned about a 45-carat rough (uncut) pink diamond and flew the next day to Antwerp, Belgium, where he made the purchase for untold millions. Though the stone was marred with blemishes and inclusions, he had a gut feeling that it possessed tremendous potential. Goldberg’s diamond cutters spent six weeks carving the stone to create a 10-carat, vivid fancy pink diamond that has a value of about $8 million. “We might not see a stone of that color, quality, and size for decades to come,” says company President Saul Goldberg, William’s son, who bears an uncanny resemblance to his father in both physical appearance and personality.

 

After more than 50 years of buying and selling some of the world’s greatest diamonds, William relies on his instincts and long-standing relationships with international dealers to assemble his exceptional cache. These days, however, every major business decision is a family affair. His children Saul and Eve and son-in-law Barry Berg have acquired his passion for diamonds and his nerve for risk taking. “We get calls about unusual stones every day,” explains Saul. “We have to consider every opportunity, because very large, rare diamonds are not easy to find. And our clients expect us to have them.”

 

When a jeweler such as Van Cleef & Arpels or Cartier needs, say, a 50-carat cushion-cut stone, it knows that William Goldberg is one of only a few sources likely to possess such a rarity. Aside from a network of dealers, the Goldbergs have access to extraordinary diamonds through their 30-year standing as a Diamond Trading Co. (DTC) sightholder, which places them among a handful of merchants who buy directly from DTC.

While the Goldbergs purchase and sell stones on a daily basis, they hold some truly remarkable diamonds in their vaults until the perfect occasion arises. For instance, the company reserved a 50-carat briolette-cut stone for a few years until last spring, when a dealer unexpectedly presented the Goldbergs with a similar diamond. Having acquired the match they were waiting for, the Goldbergs created an extravagant pair of drop earrings that are valued at more than $1 million.

“Timing is everything in this business,” says Berg, who is often the one who jumps on a plane to chase down a stone. Connections to silent investors, who can supply large sums of cash at a moment’s notice, enable the Goldbergs to act quickly on their instincts. “You have to be ready to buy at any time,” says Berg. “Otherwise you can miss big opportunities.”

William Goldberg’s most important private clients are invited to visit the company’s elegant Midtown offices, where the wood-paneled walls are lined with William’s collection of Depression-era photographs. These clients are also offered a glimpse of the workshop and the dozen diamond cutters as they masterfully carve the remarkable gems. But the main attraction is always the company’s latest big diamond acquisition, such as the 75-carat D-flawless briolette that arrived last week.

William Goldberg Diamond Corp., 212.980.4343

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