My name is Yoram Finkelstein, I am also known as Yoram F (on various online platforms) and as “DiaGem” (on PriceScope.com). I am a second generation Diamond cutter/cleaver and the founder of GemConcepts.
I shape rough Diamonds into unique Diamond cuts and looking back on my career, I can’t help but think about the experiences that similarly shaped who I am today.
As this is my first blog post, I thought it was only fitting that I look inward and share how GemConcepts came into being.
The Diamond Influence Begins Early
I was raised in Antwerp, Belgium and Beverly Hills, California. My late father was pioneer in the early days of the Israeli Diamond industry (circa 1940’s). He was a cutter and cleaver of large Diamonds (specials, 10.80 carats+) operating from the backstage of the Diamond industry.
What do I mean by that? Well, my father was never one for the limelight. He preferred to do his work behind the scenes and preferred to focus more on the professional side. His well known reputation was highly appreciated by many Diamond professionals around the world.
As a child, I can still remember my father bringing his work home. In the middle of the night, I would hear the squeaking and chirping sounds of Diamonds being cleaved. In the 60’s and 70’s you would need to rub two Diamonds together to create a cleft, which you’d then use to deliver a strong blow which divided the Diamond. You were limited to four cleaving directions and two more via blade sawing.
If that sounds limiting its because it was. Of course today we can use lasers to divide a Diamond in any chosen direction.
Creating a Diamond Business
It was probably inevitable that my father’s passion for Diamonds would rub off on me. He taught me the skills of the trade and showed me how the business side operated. I took it all in and as a young man, I started my own business buying rough and cut Diamonds to market them at a profit.
Working with generic diamonds was a good little business, but after my father’s passing in the mid-90’s I started to lose my passion. The business was becoming more and more competitive but my biggest issue was that it felt like craft, not art. My creative side was thoroughly bored by the experience.
I think on some level I was waiting for a strike of inspiration. And then one day it arrived.
About nineteen years ago (circa 1998) I was involved in a project designing and bringing to life a specialty Cushion Cut Diamond. This was something different. This was a challenge. This was interesting.
While researching and developing the new cut, which needed to exclude any prior art, it forced me to educate myself on the History of Diamonds and the cutting techniques from the period.
I felt like a musician who just discovered Mozart. It may sound silly, but I was mesmerized. Once the hidden charms of the world of Period Cuts had been revealed to me, there was no turning back.
A Personal Touch
It was love that once again shaped the course of my life in 2001 – for my beautiful wife. Having just delivered one of our children I wanted to create something really special for her. A symbol of my love and respect.. It needed to be special. I knew it will have to be a unique Platinum ring set with Old Mine Cut Diamonds
I was offered a beautiful 2.26 carat Antique Old Mine Cut, I purchased it and planned it as the center piece of my wife’s ring. Now all I needed was accent Diamonds for the “halo” and shoulders I was planning. But where would I find fifty tiny matched colorless Old Mine Cut meleé Diamonds? Call it inspiration. Call it madness. I ended up creating all fifty myself. It was a challenge but one that thrilled me and pushed me to further explore the world of Antique Cut Diamonds.
Before long I was exclusively cutting fine rough Diamonds into Old Cut Diamonds. The industry at the time was mainly interested in modern generic Diamond Cuts so I probably seemed kind of an odd bird. But being odd and unique must love company, I was soon after supplying my cuts to distinct antique & vintage jewelers and a few contemporary designers who dared at the time to set their creations with Old Charm Diamond Cuts from the past.
The Path to GemConcepts
To broaden the market for my Old Cut Diamonds I decided that education was the best approach. Whether it was someone from the industry or just laymen or women interested on the topic, I would find myself passionately advocating for the virtues of Period Cuts.
It was probably inevitable that I’d eventually get hooked on discussing Diamonds online. In 2004 I became an active participator as DiaGem on PriceScope.com, a leading Diamond education & advocacy website.
Participating on forum discussions for so many years allowed me to interact with professionals and consumers all over the world, it was and still is a great learning experience which allowed me to further develop worlds I didn’t know intimately.
Eventually this led to my involvement with the designing and bringing to market of “August Vintage© Old Mine Cut” and “Octavia™ Square Emerald Cut”, both cuts combining Antique Diamond shapes, facet designs and proportions while adapting new cutting technologies that emphasizes 3D optical performance and symmetry.
These two Diamonds triggered a new line of offerings called GemConcepts “Signature Cuts”. The harmonious combination of Period Cuts and innovative cutting technique which bring the most of both worlds.
That brings us to present day. A little wiser. A few more grey hairs. But still as inspired and passionate about Diamonds as I’ve ever been. If you’re reading this you probably share this passion. I want to thank you for your support, your inspiration, and for listening to my story.
– Yoram F