Gassan Diamonds: It Isn’t Only About the Diamonds

Heather Tucker, Wednesday, April 29, 2015 , 1,334 Views

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The words “Amsterdam” and “diamonds” have gone together since the late 16th century when the city became the major centre of the European diamond and trade industry. A position Amsterdam managed to maintain throughout the 17th century until the end of the 19th century.

Since the end of the 19th century, the Boas Diamond Factory at Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat was busy processing 8,000 to 10,000 carats of rough diamonds per week. And inside the factory with its steam-driven polishing units, one of the staff members, Samuel Gassan, was learning his trade.  

Samuel Gassan went on to found Gassan Diamonds in October 1945. The company’s activities included diamond polishing, importing and exporting rough and polished diamonds, coloured stones and diamond jewellery – on a wholesale and retail level. At that time the business was located in the Amsterdam Diamond Exchange at the Weesperplein and since then the company has expanded to shops and boutiques in many parts of the world. However, in 1989 Gassan came full circle when they bought the original Boas building. 

While Amsterdam is no longer the diamond capital of the world, it is still one of the major centres for diamond cutting. And Gassan provides you with the opportunity to learn about the history of diamonds in Amsterdam and see the exquisitely polished stones during their free, guided tours at the Boas Building. 

Instead of a hard sell, you’ll learn from the multilingual staff why bigger isn’t always better (clarity versus carat), fun facts such as how diamonds used to be weighed using the seeds of the carob tree, and how the shape of a diamond differs depending on its cut and the quality and number of its polished facets. You’ll learn how on average, during the whole process from rough to polished diamond, the stone will lose half its weight. As well as having the opportunity to watch the polishers at work, seeing the trademarked Gassan 121® cut and finding out what makes it so special. 

Then, and only if you desire, do you have the opportunity to pick a diamond, try on exclusive jewellery, and browse the shop and the Rolex boutique. Diamonds are even mounted while you wait, meaning you can enjoy your purchase on the journey home. 

So how about it…will you be one of the more than 400,000 tourists that visit the historical Gassan diamond factory each year?