The Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange, known locally as the ‘Bursa’, is the world’s largest diamond trading complex. The Exchange employs over 15,000 people from 1,500 companies working and trading here every day. The Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange is located in ultra-high security buildings in Ramat Gan, minutes from central Tel Aviv. These buildings contain billions of dollars of diamonds, and export approximately $5 billion a year. Around 40%-50% of the world’s diamonds pass through these buildings, which are like a secret world hidden from the public’s view. Tours of the Diamond Exchange are available, taking visitors behind closed doors into this fascinating complex.
History of the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange
Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange complex, four self contained towers
The Israeli diamond industry was started in the 1930’s by European Jews following the abolishment on import taxes on rough diamonds by the British Mandate government. In the next years, the industry grew. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the industry became organised with the first trade association, which later developed into the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange. In 1968, the first building in the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange complex was opened. This was, at the time, one of the tallest buildings in Israel.
In the following years, the industry grew rapidly, with the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange complex growing into a huge four tower complex. The complex includes over 1,500 companies, 3,000 members, and 15,000 working in the center. As well as jewellery companies, the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange has its own banks, post offices, shippers, insurers, and more. It is a self contained world, surrounded by high security, and housing billions of dollars of precious stones at any one time.
Trading floor of the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange
The diamond Exchange Today
The Tel Aviv diamond industry is one of the most important components of the Israeli economy. It was, until the surge in the high-tech industry, one of Israel’s largest export industries. The Diamond Exchange remains unique in the world, and attempts to replicate it elsewhere have failed. This is thanks to its huge number of well reputed businesses, well regarded security, and strong image in the world. 40%-50% of all polished diamonds in the world pass through Tel Aviv. This makes the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange a major point on the world jewellery map. As a result, buyers from most of the world’s major jewellers head to Tel Aviv regularly to purchase new stones.
The businesses in the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange purchase rough diamonds from mines around the world, and cut and polish them in preparation for sale, almost entirely for export. The Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange’s strong reputation is cemented by the guaranteed high quality of all diamonds which pass through it, and all diamonds are 100% naturally made and blood free.
Visiting the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange
Examining Diamonds in the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange
The Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange is a working complex, and the public cannot enter the buildings unless escorted by a member of the Exchange. Getting inside involves clearing high security and being accompanied at all times. Our Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange tour is unique as it is led by a professional diamond expert. The tour goes past the security barriers and provides an insider look inside the exchange. Visitors will see its inner workings, and gain information about the diamonds within. There is also an opportunity to buy diamonds for those who would like. It’s important to note though, that this is not buying from a gift shop, it is buying direct from dealers at wholesale prices.
The Diamond Exchange does have a visitor center, the Henry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum, which is open to the public. There are also a small number of diamond stores around the complex which serve the public and tourists. (Read on for guide to buying diamonds in Tel Aviv.)
Buying Diamonds in Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange
It is not possible to enter the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange unless accompanied by a member. As such, there are a number of tourist stores for diamonds outside the complex which are open to the public. However, for those who pre-book, it is possible to arrange exclusive access inside the Diamond Exchange to purchase at wholesale prices. This experience also includes a tour of the exchange, viewing the trading floor and gaining access to the full range of diamonds. Settings and jewellery are also available.
What happens if one company doesn’t have what a diamond buyer is looking for? Because of the nature of the community within the Exchange, companies are able to source diamonds from any other member. Thanks to the tight security and cooperation, and importance of the handshake, they can bring it to a client their hand without signing. This is a unique feature of the Diamond Exchange, designed to make it easier to trade with large buyers, but equally aids individuals looking for diamonds.