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Diamonds: The Collection of Benjamin Zucker

Diamonds: The Collection of Benjamin Zucker


Published by Les Enluminures
​​​​​​​Distributed by Paul Holberton Publishing


Accompanying an exhibition at Les Enluminures, New York, this lavish catalogue presents an extraordinary collection of diamonds from the king of gems, Benjamin Zucker, one of New York’s leading dealers in diamonds and precious stones. 


Benjamin Zucker’s remarkable story unfolds over three generations of diamond dealers. Arriving in New York in 1941, he had the benefit of the training of his grandfather, a leading expert in uncut diamonds in Antwerp, and his uncle, one of the foremost dealers of diamonds in the Far East. Some of the world’s most famous diamonds, such as the Wittelsbach Diamond, passed through the hands of the Zucker family. Armed with the family “know-how”, Benjamin Zucker formed a collection that “has taken a lifetime of patience, money, and unquenchable enthusiasm”, according to Diana Scarisbrick. As Mr. Zucker himself says “diamonds will always be a magical window facing the invisible world”. 


Put together over more than forty-five years, this truly rare and immensely valuable collection includes thirty-five precious jewels mostly made for European patrons – rings, brooches, hairpins, earrings. It tells the story of the Indian diamond over a period of nearly 600 years, ending before the discovery of mines in Brazil, a source that displaced India and inaugurated a new age of diamonds. Starting with the octahedral diamond, the collection includes outstanding examples of world-class importance showing how jewellers gradually captured more and more of the allure of these indomitable gems, evolving from point to table to rose to brilliant cuts. The success of the brilliant cut (close to our cuts today) eclipsed the earlier shapes, many of which were recut to “modernize” them, with the result that the earlier cuts of “old mine” diamonds included here are exceedingly rare. 


Most of these jewels are published. Many of them have been exhibited in prestigious museums such as the Walters Art Museum, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and most recently the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As assembled in the present collection they have never been displayed together and have never been offered for sale.


This lavish publication by the leading scholar in the field accompanies the exhibition. It is written by Diana Scarisbrick, celebrated jewellery historian and author of Diamond Jewelry: Seven Hundred Years of Glory and Glamour (September 2019).

  • By Diana Scarisbrick

    October 2019  
    Paperback, 167 x 228 mm
    340 pages, 196 ills.
    ISBN 978-0-578-42018-9

    Published by Les Enluminures
    Distributed by Paul Holberton Publishing

  • Exhibition

    Les Enluminures, New York
    24 October – 9 November 2019

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