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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum©

The largest diamond and precious stone exchange in the world is found in Eretz Yisrael, in Ramat Gan. The diamond industry is one of Israel’s largest export industries; one in every two diamonds sold in the U.S. has passed through Israel. Whenever a diamond is bought or sold, the deal is closed by the words “Mazel u’brachah” — even if no Jews were involved in the deal!

The Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum, located in the heart of the Diamond Exchange District, is a beautiful showcase and opens a window into the workings and achievements of the diamond industry in Israel. A visual information center, the museum presents the many aspects of the diamond trade, educating the public as to its history and accomplishments in Israel.

The museum was founded in 1986. In 2008, after major renovations and a complete redesign in honor of the industry’s 70th anniversary in Israel, the museum was reopened to the public. Its mission is to introduce the mysterious and magical world of the diamond to the visitor. Diverse aids are utilized to unfurl the saga of the diamond, from the time of its formation deep in the earth until it has been put to various uses by man. Rare gems, informative stations, video movies and multimedia combine in an exciting interactive experience which maximizes the beauty and glamour of the hardest material on earth, and which most of mankind considers the most precious mineral in the world, the diamond.

There are both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The former gives information on the “creation” of a diamond (its formation, different methods of diamond mining, and the stages of processing and polishing), the unique features of the diamond, and industry trading practices. The diamond’s attributes and applications in jewelry and different fields of industry are also highlighted. Experts in the industry guide the visitor though all the stages, and the brilliance of diamonds is revealed.

The rotating short-term displays demonstrate additional facets of the diamond and provide wonderful tools to depict the culture, mystery and esteem which are interwoven in the world of gems. Many of these exhibits are high profile and include: The Russian Treasures Collection, The Amsterdam Jews’ Collection, The Treasures of Prague, Diamond Jewelry from the International De Beers Competitions, and Replicas of the British Crown

In recent years, the museum has hosted diamond and gemstone art, and jeweled fashion-accessory exhibits from all around the globe. Notable exhibits have included one called Silver Images of Golden Apples, a collection of jewelry discovered at archeological sites throughout Israel, covering periods from the Avos, through to the Ottoman period. Another one, The Diamonds Roar, and All About Diamonds, exhibited jewelry by emerging designers from South Africa.

After a visit to the museum, visitors can enter the diamond complex, which is like a trip to a huge supermarket — of diamonds.

The Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum is located at 1 Jabotinsky Street, Diamond Exchange, Ramat Gan, Israel. It is open daily (but not Fridays or Shabbos), from 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. and on Tuesday until 6 p.m. The entrance fee is NIS 24, and NIS 12 for students and soldiers. Phone: (03) 576-0219.
Published in Hamodia.

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