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.
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 organized with the first trade association, which later developed into the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange. In 1968, the first building in the 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 local 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 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.
Tel Aviv 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 this Diamond Exchange a major point on the world jewellery map. As a result, buyers from most of the world’s major jewelers 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
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.
The 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.
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.
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.