Women’s Wear Daily
04.20.2014
fashion-memopad
fashion-memopad

At William Goldberg, Diamonds Are a Family Legacy

Many firms in Manhattan's Diamond District have been passed down from parent to child and some date back four generations. But mom-and-pop jewelry operations have dwindled as major brands like Cartier, De Beers and Van Cleef & Arpels dominate the...

fashion-memopad/news
Many firms in Manhattan's Diamond District have been passed down from parent to child and some date back four generations. But mom-and-pop jewelry operations have dwindled as major brands like Cartier, De Beers and Van Cleef & Arpels dominate the market with worldwide advertising and marketing campaigns.

The William Goldberg Diamond Corp. aims to fuse the business methods of both. Goldberg, who died in 2003, founded his namesake firm in 1973 after being a partner in diamond-cutting company Goldberg & Weiss, which he helped start in 1952.
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With a penchant for diamonds and gemstones, Goldberg began selling small stones such as tapered baguettes. Eventually he became a go-to person for important colored and colorless diamonds and acquired extraordinary stones. They included the 136-carat Queen of Holland diamond, the 30-carat Blue Lili diamond, the 89-carat Guinea Star and the D flawless Premier Rose diamond, which Goldberg acquired, cut and polished in 1978.

Goldberg left the business to his family. His son, Saul, took over as president; his daughter, Eve, and son-in-law, Barry Berg, are both executive vice presidents, and his widow, Lili, is treasurer. In 2006, the City of New York named West 48th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues "William Goldberg Way."

"My father went door-to-door selling baguettes," said Eve Goldberg. "We were diamond manufacturers. It was basically selling loose goods in a mounting. We've come a long way."

To shore up its diamond supply, William Goldberg formed a joint venture with Leo Schachter Diamonds, a Diamond Trading Co. Sightholder, in 2004. The contract has been renewed for another three years. This spring, the firm is opening a new facility in Gabarone, Botswana, to cut stones from 5 carats and above and employ as many as 20 workers. William Goldberg projects the factory will put out 1,200 carats of diamonds a month.

William Goldberg wholesales diamonds for major brands and also sells privately in its West 48th Street headquarters. But the focus will turn from loose stones and wholesale selling to finished jewelry pieces, many of which are made on the premises. The firm wants to brand its name, similar to Harry Winston and Graff. The brand is now broken down into 80 percent jewelry and 20 percent loose stones. Five years ago only 40 percent of the sales came from jewelry and 60 percent from loose stones. The company is targeting $150 million in sales this year.
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