Abstract

Abstract:

After the discovery of vast diamond deposits in South Africa in 1869, the transatlantic trade in diamonds accelerated precipitously. The majority of extracted rough stones were sent via London to Amsterdam, where they were cleaved, cut, and polished by working-class Jews and non-Jews in factories across the city. The diamond became highly significant in nineteenth-century Amsterdam Jewish life, providing economic sustenance to a solid 50 percent of the Jewish population who prepared diamonds as articles of conspicuous consumption to meet the sharp rise in demand from foreign, bourgeois customers. Manufacturing and trade also stimulated Jewish socioeconomic mobility and the formation of the prominent Dutch Diamond Workers’ Union (the ANDB), the largest labor organization in the Netherlands.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2028
Print ISSN
0021-6704
Pages
pp. 38-73
Launched on MUSE
2017-02-26
Open Access
No
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